California Senator Bill Dodd has confirmed that he has pulled his sports betting bill from California legislation after heavy opposition from tribal casinos.
Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray, who originally introduced the bill, had hoped it would be on the upcoming November ballots. Unfortunately, their plans have fallen through after taking big steps to legalize sports betting in the state.
To have made it to the November elections, the bill would have had to be approved by the state legislature by Thursday. It is now likely voters will not see sports betting on their ballots until November 2022. This would mean that California would be able to implement sports betting in 2023 at the earliest.
Earlier this month, the bill reached the Senate Appropriation Committee after the California Senate Governmental Organization Committee passed the bill.
The bill, otherwise known as SCA 6, would have allowed the launch of online and in-person sports betting through Indian gaming casinos and racetracks.
To legalize sports betting in California, the bill would have needed a two-thirds vote to make it on the ballot. After, the majority of voters would have had to approve it.
For the past few months, tribal casinos have been vocal about their rejection of the bill. Tribes argued California card rooms would receive extra gaming rights if the bill passed. Both parties were actively gathering signatures for their respective measures before the coronavirus pandemic.
On June 9, a coalition of tribes sued the state of California, claiming the pandemic disrupted the time needed to gather the appropriate amount of signatures. They also argued that the bill lacked tribal input and was not created with the attention it deserves.
One of the main reasons Sen. Dodd wanted to pursue sports betting legalization was to help the state’s economy amid the coronavirus budget crisis.
If the bill would have passed, many industry analysts have suggested California could have one of the largest growing sports betting markets in the U.S.
In California, there are 15 professional teams across the four major sports leagues. California also has the largest population in the United States. These were arguments for legalizing sports betting as the added revenue could have helped with their estimated $54 billion budget.
The sports betting market was estimated to bring $502 million in state taxes. Now, it will be several years until California residents can participate in sports betting.
The coalition of California tribes is asking for more time to gather signatures to qualify for their own sports betting measure in 2022.
Much like Senator Dodd, the coalition hoped to make it to this year’s ballot but has been unable to get enough signatures due to pandemic shutdowns.
It is still possible for the coalition’s bill to make it on the November 2020 ballot, but they are requesting an extension to submit signatures for 2022. Because of the sensitivity of the matter, the Superior Court of California has set a hearing for July 2.
If the tribes’ lawsuit does fail, they still have a chance to make it to the 2022 elections. They expressed their appreciation for legislators’ decision to stop Sen. Dodd’s bill.