Plans for Sports Betting in California Convoluted • This Week in Gambling

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Any hope of sports betting in California will , state residents will eventually come down to the voters. Perhaps as soon as this fall state residents will be able to decide between ballot measures aimed at regulating the activity. But is would also be understandable if they were so sick of the political bullshit in the state that they just didn’t care.

First, there’s the struggle between state card rooms, national operators, and Tribal gaming interests. Each wants the biggest piece of the action they can get. Each would love a monopoly on the action, if we’re honest. And that’s not even considering the input of California’s race tracks on this matter. The state has the potential to be the largest market for sports wagers in the country, and greed is definitely a factor here.

With the competing interests, there are competing options to regulate sports betting in California. So far, there look to be at least two choices that will make the ballot in November, with the first from Tribal gaming. It would legalize the activity on tribal lands and state regulated racetracks, keeping  Obviously, this would be a major victory for the Tribes, plus it would additionally legalize roulette and games played with dice at their casinos.

The second plan is from national bookmakers, and it ties money raised from from the activity to homelessness and mental health in the state. Do sports betting operators actually care about such things? In a more broad sense, perhaps. But it’s also an obvious play public sentiment simply to boost public support for their plan. Called the “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act”, it’s supported by FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Bally’s and others.

Naturally, Tribal interests and card rooms are worried of losing millions a year, or perhaps going out of business, if sports betting in California is handed off to national bookmakers. And all of this in-fighting has also had the effect of wearing on voters, so that by the time November elections arrive they may not care at all. Additionally, some citizens have formed the Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies committee to fight the regulation of sports bets at Tribal casinos.

What will be the outcome of all of this? It’s too convoluted to say. But it’s pretty clear that voters in the state are getting tired of the conflict and competition. The longer the battle goes, the more it seems they just want the topic to go away… one way or another.

Author: Sean Rogers