Californian lawmakers have ended a bid to legalise sports betting in the state as the deadline for the November ballot approaches.
US.- Lawmakers have ended a bid to get the legalisation of sports betting in California on the ballot for a public vote this November.
State lawmakers and tribal authorities had each hoped to get their own proposals for the legalisation of sports betting on the agenda for November, but both parties have said they will not make this week’s deadline for submissions because of delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lawmakers’ proposal for legal sports betting had met strong resistance from tribes who fear online sports betting could harm land-based casinos. Tribes instead wanted to put forward their own proposal legalising sports betting at racetracks and tribal casinos only, but because of the Covid-19 pandemic were not able to collect enough signatures in time for the deadline.
Tribes’ only chance now is to wait to see if they can win a court-ordered extension of the deadline.
As for the state’s proposal, senator Bill Dodd of Napa said he would keep pushing for his proposed legislation, now with an aim for the 2022 mid-term elections. He said it was vital to “lift this widespread practice out of the shadows to make it safer and to generate money for the people of California.”
He said: “Given the deadlines for getting a measure on the November ballot and the impact of Covid-19 on the public’s ability to weigh in, we were not able to get the bill across the finish line this year”.
Dodd, together with assemblyman Adam Gray of Merced, had argued that the bill would eventually generate up to US$700 million a year as California tries to close a US$54 billion budget gap caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was put forward by the two lawmakers after the US Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting in 2018. Since then nearly two dozen states and the District of Columbia have authorised sports betting.
However, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association said that internet sports betting threaten brick-and-mortar establishments and reward out-of-state businesses.
More than 1 million people have signed the tribes’ proposed own ballot measure to legalise sports wagering only at racetracks and tribal casinos, but they were still some way from verifiying the signatures in time for the deadline on Thursday.