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Last week, four California cities – Colma, Gardena, Inglewood, and San Jose – filed a ballot initiative that would ultimately give voters the chance to decide whether legal statewide mobile wagering will be allowed in the Golden State.
The so-called ‘Request for a Circulating Title and Summary’ was filed with the California Attorney General’s office and marked received on August 12 and, if eventually authorized, would appear on the November 2022 ballot.
That’s when California voters would get to decide whether they want to see legal sports gambling at their state’s tribal casinos, horse racetracks, card rooms, and professional sports stadiums as well as allow for banked card games to happen at existing California card rooms.
Were it to succeed, this initiative would become the second one of its type on that future ballot, with possibly more to come.
Earlier this year, the California Secretary of State announced that “a ballot measure to amend the state’s constitution will appear on the next statewide general election in November 2022” after it received 60,000 more signatures than the almost million it needed to qualify.
This ballot initiative would give voters a chance to allow federally recognized Native American tribes to operate sports betting on tribal lands “subject to a compact negotiated with the California Governor and subsequently ratified by the state legislature.”
Pechanga Chairman Mark Macarro has told the press why California voters will prefer the tribal version of this legal sports betting initiative:
This is an important step toward giving Californians the opportunity to participate in sports wagering while also establishing safeguards and protections against underage gambling.
This tribal monopoly on gambling could open the door to even more proposals being introduced, with this sports betting ballot initiative battle in California representing a larger fight also occurring between native tribes and outside sports gambling interests elsewhere in the U.S.
Until recently, in states like California, Florida, Massachusetts, and others, a tribal control on gambling has existed with native tribes handling most of the state’s casino operations, but now that sports betting is legal in the U.S., other gaming interests want a piece of the action.
Outside operators like FanDuel and DraftKings argue that no longer is it acceptable for all that potential gambling revenue to only benefit the tribes, as Joe Patterson, executive director of the California Gaming Association (CGA) told the press recently.
While the CGA has not yet taken a position on the newly proposed sports betting initiative, we do strongly oppose the self-serving tribal casino monopoly initiative that will only benefit wealthy tribal casino operators to achieve their goal of a gambling monopoly with no benefits for California residents.
Similar legal battles over state gambling interests are being waged in Florida with the Seminoles and in Massachusetts with the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and in other states where gambling has been handled for years solely by tribal interests.
Regardless, it could be up to California voters in 2022 whether legal sports betting will ever make it to their state and who exactly will directly benefit from all that newfound revenue, something that nearby states like Nevada and Oregon have already decided.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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