Progress in California Sports Betting Legislation Shows Incremental Movement

California Sports Betting with Tribal Gaming Expose 2024 Proposition Risks

Posted on: January 8, 2024, 04:29h.

Last updated on: January 8, 2024, 04:29h.

Hope for regulated sports betting in California is alive as certain commercial gaming companies align with the state’s largest tribes in opposition to recently proposed sports wagering regulations.

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Jefferies analyst David Katz in a 2020 CNBC interview. He said there’s “meaningful progress” on California sports betting. (Image: CNBC)

Proposals such as The Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act, recently filed by Eagle1 Acquisitions Corp., face opposition from the state’s largest tribal casino operators. These efforts have gained support from commercial sportsbook operators against the proposed regulations. This development is intriguing given that in 2022, these tribes and private sector gaming entities opposed Propositions 26 and 27, which were both rejected by voters.

Likely Small Number of Tribes Opposing California Sports Betting

With over 70 tribal casinos, California’s largest revenue-generating tribes, including Agua Caliente, Barona, Graton Rancheria, Rincon, and San Manuel Tribes, are teaming up to block newly proposed regulations. These tribes, which spent $220 million in 2022 to defeat Proposition 27, are using their weight to thwart The Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act.

Jefferies analyst David Katz states, “Given the divergent views of the multitude of tribes, we believe a smaller group of the largest tribes is expected to drive the process.”

The analyst further notes the significance of commercial and tribal operators finding common ground in the state.

“Operators have also connected with… larger tribes to attempt alignment of efforts, which we consider critical to meaningful progress,” according to Katz.

California Sports Betting Still Faces Long Road in 2024

Commercial and tribal operators aligning in California demonstrates intent, but this does not guarantee the progress of sports betting regulations in the state this year. Eagle1 is seeking 874,641 signatures by April to potentially get sports wagering on this year’s ballot. However, without the support of tribes, sports betting faces uncertainty as tribal operators prefer to delay mobile betting until 2026.

Even if Eagle1 is successful in getting sports betting on the ballot, the combined resources of the tribes and private sector operators could ensure the defeat of The Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act.

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