New California Sports Betting Initiatives: What You Need to Know

  • Requests for two brand-new betting initiatives have been filed in California 
  • Among other rules, they would establish a tribal hub-and-spoke betting model
  • The initiatives do not, however, have the backing of the Californian tribes
  • Their chances are very slim given the failure of multiple initiatives in the past
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California has two new sports betting initiatives which would establish a tribal market. [Image:]

Same old story

It seems like Groundhog Day in the state of California. The US’s most populated state has flirted with sports betting legalization for the past few years, only for gamblers to have their hopes dashed for one reason or another. Well, take a deep breath because it’s time for that journey to start all over again.

two brand new sports betting ballot initiatives in California

On Friday, news surfaced of two brand new sports betting ballot initiatives in California. Proponents Ryan Tyler Walz and Reeve Collins filed requests for the two initiatives in the hope that they will qualify for the November, 5 elections. Collins is the Co-Founder and CEO of Pala Interactive, owned by Boyd Gaming, while Walz’s relation to betting is unclear.

Now, given the notoriously difficult nature of passing sports betting legislation in The Golden State, it might be best not to get your hopes up if you’re a betting fan. Nevertheless, VegasSlotsOnline News has gathered all the information it can find on these initiatives so you don’t have to.

Delving into the details

The two initiatives would both work together to permit tribal sports betting in California. The first, called The Tribal Gaming Protection Act, would amend the constitution to permit tribal betting and exclude every other operator from the market. This would pave the way for California’s tribes to form compacts with the Governor.

The second initiative, The Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act, actually establishes what that sports betting market would look like. The main details are as follows:

– The market could go live no earlier than September 1, 2025.

– Sports betting would follow a hub-and-spoke model in which tribes can offer mobile sportsbooks linked from property to property. In-person registration would be required.

– The tribes could partner with commercial operators, but the offerings must have the tribe’s branding, exclusively. Partners are also entitled to no more than 40% of net revenue from any such agreement, and those can not last longer than seven years.

– The age of legal gambling would be 21.

– Betting options could include professional and college sports.

– The tribes would give 15% of revenue to a tribal sports wagering revenue trust fund, and contribute 10% of revenue to the CA Homeless and Mental Health Fund.

No tribal backing

One crucial fact regarding the initiatives and their chances of success is that they don’t appear to have the backing of California’s tribes.

deeply disappointed” that the proponents did not reach out

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) shared a statement on Friday in which it deemed itself “deeply disappointed” that the proponents did not reach out to the tribes before filing their requests. The group said it was only alerted to the existence of the initiatives “when they were filed with the Attorney General.”

Additionally, Victor Rocha, Conference Chairman of the Indian Gaming Association, Tweeted to share his very clear opinion on the initiatives:

CNIGA said that the sponsors of the initiatives should have engaged with the tribes to “ask, rather than dictate” what would be the best sports betting model. “Decisions driving the future of tribal governments should be made by tribal governments,” the body concluded.

A slim chance

Given the lack of tribal backing for what is a tribal-focused sports betting plan, the chances of success for these proposals are slim. That is especially true given the difficulty others have faced in trying to pass California wagering initiatives in the past.

Prop 26 and Prop 27 both offered two very different plans

Last year, for instance, two measures actually made it to the ballot box but failed to gain voter support. Prop 26 and Prop 27 both offered two very different plans for California sports betting. The first would have allowed tribal casinos to operate sportsbooks, while Prop 27 would have opened the door to mega-corporations such as FanDuel and DraftKings.

Nevertheless, it seems sports betting proponents will never stop in their mission to establish a legal market in California. Preliminary estimations suggest the market could generate as much as $3bn in annual revenue when it is mature. To put that into perspective, that’s 40% of the entire US sports betting market’s revenue in 2022, at $7.5bn.

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