Sports Betting Not Coming to California After the Latest Initiative Fails to Gain Support
Following the repeal of PASPA, many hoped California would be among those states pushing for the legalization of sports betting. However, this won’t happen anytime soon.
The latest initiative aimed at allowing wagering on sports in the Golden State, however, failed to gather enough support to appear on a referendum, which would have been scheduled to take place in 2020. In addition to this, the deadline for introducing a new piece of legislation expired more than a month ago.
Light Years Away from Its Goal
The latest in the line of unsuccessful initiatives was proposed by Californians for Sports Betting, a group who lobbied for legal changes that would lead to sports betting legislation in California. The initiative was first introduced in June last year, which means it had more than enough time to gather the necessary support.
But it failed miserably, as it didn’t get a single signature to be placed on the 2020 ballot. To do so, the proposal needed around 623,000 signatures.
Commenting on this initiative, Russell Lowery, a consultant for Californians for Sports Betting, said the group had never advanced to get a single signature. He pointed out that the initiative had started a conversation in California gaming on what was the right path forward, and those conversations would continue until the puzzled was figured out.
At this point, we need to stress the group did try to get sufficient support for the initiative, but they encountered a number of obstacles along the way. Sports betting has many proponents in California, but it seems they all rely on lawmakers to get the job done.
An Initiative Is the Only Way to Change Things
Lowery says the biggest problem for those who support the introduction of sports betting, as he believes they are not addressing the problem in the right manner. He stated everyone needed to understand that changes were not going to happen without some form of pressure. Lowery stressed that sports betting industry now understood that legislative changes could only come through an initiative.
Under the provisions of the rejected initiative, federally recognized Native American tribes would be allowed to offer craps games on their lands, while these operations would be subject to compacts negotiated by the state’s governor and then ratified by the legislature. The compacts would be also ratified by licensed gambling establishments, allowing the tribes to operate Nevada-style card games, and could even lead to authorization of sports wagering on tribal lands.
However, the initiatives would outlaw the governor from giving the green light for gaming on newly-established tribal lands, as well as negotiating gaming compacts with tribes that are not federally recognized.
But, there’s still time to change the things around. According to law, any initiative needs to be circulated for 180 and has to be certified a minimum of 131 days before the elections. In practice, this means any new proposal would need to finish the process by June 25 next year.
Will the sports betting proponents take another shot at making wagering on sports a reality in California? It’s still too early to tell at this point.