Dashing the hopes of millions of punters in the California, State Senator Bill Dodd removed Senate Constitutional Amendment 6 (SCA 6) from consideration.
The removal of the sports bill which would have authorized racetracks, tribal casinos, and card rooms to offer retail as well as online sports bet to the general public—means that the earliest California punters can expect to make sports bets will be in 2022.
According to Dodd, the tight schedules imposed by the upcoming November election and the COVID-19 pandemic constrained California legislators’ efforts to get the bill to pass the assembly and the state senate, which would prepare it for entry into the November ballots for voter input.
The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Adam Gray in 2018, immediately after a US Supreme Court decision that granted states the right to offer legal sports betting markets. Dodd emphasized that the setback was merely temporary. He stated that he remains fully convinced of the need to legalize sports betting in California, and promised voters that the issue will still be on his mind come 2022.
Tribes Need to be Involved in Sports Betting Bills
The bill was one of two options California voters could have chosen this year on the specific issue of sports betting. A group of California tribes spearheaded a ballot referendum that limited sports betting to Indian casinos and regulated racetracks, excluding card rooms and barring bets on local amateur teams. The referendum also made no mention of mobile options for sports bets.
The tribes mounted a campaign against SCA 6. According to a spokesman from one of the involved tribes, the failure of SCA 6 was a welcome development. California is the biggest Indian gaming market in the US, garnering more than $8 billion yearly revenues, with over 32,000 jobs tied to the industry.
This assessment was backed by Brendan Bussmann, a gaming consultant for Global Market Advisors, who said that the legislator’s move was prudent, given that the SCA 6 would likely not have survived the ballots without the tribes’ support. According to Bussmann, the tribes have to be dealt with if legislators want to introduce legal sports betting in the state.
A signature petition was enacted by the tribes to introduce their own sports betting bill, falling just shy of their goal to qualify due to the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tribes are currently seeking permission from a judge to collect more signatures to make it to the November ballot. The hearing is set to take place on July 2.