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Is California 2024 Sports Betting Bill Already DOA?
Several states successfully saw sports betting legislation passed in 2023. However, when it comes to online gambling in California, two ballot initiatives have already been defeated, with hopes that state legislators will debate the issue in the upcoming 2024 legislative session.
The two initiatives on the November 2022 ballot would have legalized sports betting at tribal casinos and online. Local tribes continued to oppose multiple lobby groups in efforts to pass legislation in 2023.
California betting apps remain in limbo as the battle between the Pala tribe’s Prop 26 and the corporate-backed Prop 27 was the most expensive fight in the history of California ballot measures, with both sides spending over $400 million in their efforts to pass gambling legislation in 2022. Both were voted down by a large margin, with Prop 27 getting just 16% approval from voters in last year’s general election.
California Sports Betting – The Latest
Pala Interactive co-founders Kasey Thompson and Reeve Collins presented two recent sports betting proposals without the backing of the Pala Band of Mission Indians. California Nations Indian Gaming Association Chairman James Silva believes this is the same mistake made by corporate supporters of the failed Prop 27, which also had opposition from local tribes.
The Pala tribe says it’s been trying to make sports betting apps like FanDuel and DraftKings comprehend that there must be a relationship between them and local tribes if they hope to conduct online sports betting in California. Two online sports betting initiatives have been filed with the state in 2023, with neither seeking approval from the two tribes in the state.
Will We See Sports Betting in CA in 2024?
Silva states that polling data among the various tribes indicates that California residents aren’t currently interested in passing sports betting legislation, with 2026 likely being the earliest the tribes would have another opportunity to pass legal sports betting. Silva says the tribes have decided to wait an election cycle before again proposing legislation. If the two new proposals pass, the state could launch legal sports betting as soon as the start of the 2025 NFL season.
What Comes Next?
Gaming providers would need licensing from state tribes, with online sportsbooks required to be named after the tribe, regardless of the operator. The companies who agree to manage online sportsbooks for the tribes would be under a seven-year contract and entitled to up to 40% of net revenue from gaming activities.
California is the most populous state in the country, with over 40 million residents, almost ten million more than Texas. The state also has twice the population of the current leader in sports betting revenue, New York, which is projected to gain nearly $14 billion in taxes in 2023. California tribes also look to maintain foot traffic at their retail casinos by requiring bettors to register in person if they want to open an online betting account.
The late filing of the two initiatives could make it difficult to see them placed on the November 2024 ballot. The proposal would also make it legal for the 76 Indian gaming casinos and all horse racing tracks in the state to offer retail sports betting.