When Can Califronia Expect Legal Sports Betting?

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Election Day is upon us, and California has no sports betting bill to vote on. Today, Louisiana, Maryland, and South Dakota will all be voting to pass sports betting in its states.

California dropped the ball earlier this year.

You can’t blame the state, though. There was a good chance of a sports betting bill to be on the ballot in 2020, but then COVID-19 broke out. Lawmakers rushed to pass a bill, and tribal casinos were hosed as they could not collect signatures to get a bill on the ballot.

The state will need to wait a few more years before there is another chance at legal sports betting.

What Happened?

This year, tribal casinos and state lawmakers were both working on separate sports betting bills to try and get on the November ballot. Each had its own version of sports betting and was hoping to get its version passed so the industry could become legal in the state.

The tribal casinos worked on collecting signatures to get its sports betting bill on the ballot and needed over one million for it to become official. Tribe proposed that sports betting would only be done at the casinos and would prohibit online sports betting. This allowed the rich to get richer in the California gaming industry as tribes already run casinos and would add in an industry that would greatly benefit the bottom line. The proposal allowed some major racetracks to allow sports betting, but only the most popular courses would have been able to.

Lawmakers, on the other hand, wanted to change the gaming landscape in California. Sen. Bill Dodd proposed a bill that would allow casinos and racetracks to offer sports betting, including legal online wagering. In return, card rooms would have more freedom to run casino games at the locations, and tribes would have a more difficult time suing cardrooms for offering games that are illegal for its jurisdiction.

Both bills were being worked through the process to be on the ballot, and then COVID-19 shut everything down. Tribes were on pace to collect the signatures before the deadline. Lawmakers were reviewing the bill to see if it would pass.

COVID shutdown casinos and Congress sessions, and everything came to a halt. When the state began to open back up, tribes didn’t have enough time or resources to get enough signatures, and a sports betting bill would have been rushed through the state legislature to have a shot at passing in November. Now, the state will have to wait for another few years before passing another chance.

When is the Next Chance Sports Betting Passes?

There is a good chance that California will wait until 2022 for another shot at a sports betting bill. The opposition between lawmakers, tribes, and cardrooms and so tense that it will make any sports betting bill difficult to pass.

This makes the whole state suffer from the constant back and forth.

Overall, this gives the state more time to figure out a solution to sports betting and possibly agree to be put on the 2022 ballot. There is no guarantee that this will work, but one can only hope.