Tribal Opposition Shelves CA Sports Betting

The Golden State won’t be seeing any sign of legal sports betting any time soon. Internal squabbling, reminiscent of the same path that we’ve seen to try and introduce legal online poker in California, has led to a stalemate between interest parties.

This week, Senator Bill Dodd decided the shelve legislation that would’ve open the path to sports betting in California, two years after the US Supreme Court scrapped a nationwide ban on sports betting, allowing states to choose their own paths.

The measure was supposed to be taken to the November ballot but Dodd said that there was not enough time to hammer out a deal that would satisfy all involved. Complicated negotiations between powerful Native American tribes and Californian card clubs bore no fruit, despite continued efforts.  As a result, Dodd shelved the legislation for this year.

Senator Dodd said in a statement:

“Given the deadlines for getting a measure on the November ballot and the impact of COVID-19 on the public’s ability to weigh in, we were not able to get the bill across the finish line this year.”

“It remains important that we lift this widespread practice out of the shadows to make it safer and to generate money for the people of California.”

Negotiations have been ongoing for over a year, but both sides of the US’s biggest gambling market held their ground and would not budge before Thursday’s deadline.  Dodd required a two-thirds vote of both houses to have his constitutional amendment reach the ballot stage. 

A coalition of 25 tribes argues that new sports betting laws would violate their exclusive gaming compacts which they have with the state. They proposed their own ballot measure, essentially limiting sports betting to tribal casinos and racing tracks. However, the pandemic stopped their efforts in collecting enough signatures to make the ballot.


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