The California sports betting bill has been pulled

  • California is $54 billion in debt due to the Coronavirus Pandemic and will sustain major budget cuts to ease some of that financial burden.
  • SCA-6, a bill that would allow residents to vote on a legal sports betting market, was pulled by its sponsor, Senator Bill Dodd because of fierce Tribal opposition.
  • Gambling on sporting events in California could easily see $500 million in revenue annually should the industry ever become legal.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The referendum bill known as SCA-6 that would’ve allowed the constituents of California to vote on sports betting legalization on the November 2020 ballot has been pulled by primary bill sponsor, Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa).

SCA-6 was made a Suspense File and set to be discussed last week.

Dodd took his bill off of the agenda for that day and a new hearing was set for Tuesday. Despite making amendments, Dodd decided to take the bill off of the table entirely on Monday, as the opposition felt by the Tribes in California was too strong.

California And Other States Have Similar Issues

Tribes in California, as well as in other states that have tried to get the ball rolling on a legal sports betting industry have fiercely opposed any progress in this area. Most recently, Arizona faced similar problems which ultimately led to the state going without a legal sports gambling market for at least another year.

Arizona, Florida, and now California have all fallen this year against the Tribes of their state when trying to move forward in any way possible to see some form of a legal sports betting industry.

The trouble lies in the influence the Tribal communities in each state have and the fact that they believe gaming should remain a strictly Tribal business.

The opposition most always is because of the inclusion of commercial mobile sportsbooks and internet platforms for gambling. Taking away a mobile and online market will hurt the overall profit margins as 85% of gambling is done via these platforms where available.

But the Tribes believe people will not frequent their land-based locations if they have the ability to gamble on the games from home.

Ken Adams, a gaming industry consultant in Reno said that Tribes have gained power over the last 20 years, allowing them to be a major influence over any gaming decisions like sports betting in California and many other states seeking such legislation.

“Anybody who wants to get a bill through the Legislature is going to have to face that,” said Adams.

Now What?

SCA-6 went further than expected.

In the end, a deadline of June 25 and opposition, as well as threats of legal ramifications for California, should the bill move forward by the Tribes is what ultimately led to its demise. California’s best bet would be seeing a legal sports betting market in 2022 but even then, that’s hard to imagine unless it was completely run by Tribes and done in the manner that they wish to see gambling on sporting events take place.

The Golden State is facing a $54 billion budget deficit post COVID-19 and making a legal sports wagering industry under SCA-6 estimated seeing $500 million a year in revenue to help chip away at the state’s debt.

California already wagers millions each year on sports through outside sources. That is all money the state could put to tremendous use if the pastime were made legal.

“Legalizing sports betting would raise hundreds of millions of dollars for California at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is threatening our economy and state budget,” said Senator Bill Dodd, (D-Napa) to LegalSportsBetting. “The money it could generate would help us avoid making painful cuts, keeping teachers and firefighters on the job. At the same time, it would allow us to regulate a practice that happens anyway, taking it out of the shadows and making it safe for all.

It’s possible that the topic can be discussed further, just not under SCA-6 when it comes time for budget hearings and how to come up with the money California is in desperate need of.

Now that this piece of legislation is no longer being considered, the Golden State is looking at some hefty budget cuts which will affect schools and healthcare among other things.

A legal sports betting industry could have helped soften the blow but the financial effects of the Coronavirus Pandemic will continue to be felt over the next few years which means there is always next year for California and the Tribes to come to an agreement for a legal sports betting industry.

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