The proposed amendment to the state Constitution was withdrawn Monday by state Senator Bill Dodd, due to tribal opposition. With it, hopes of approving sports betting in the state are dashed at least in the short term.
According to Bloomberg, the state legislator withdrew his Senate Constitutional Amendment 6 (SCA-6), in which voters were asked to amend the California Constitution, which would allow legalizing land and mobile casino bets that would benefit operators from tribal casinos and also to state racetracks.
Bill Dodd, who along with Assemblyman Adam Gray sponsored the SCA-6, said the main cause of the bill’s withdrawal was opposition from tribal operators. Another reason was the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, preventing California’s “significantly diverse stakeholders” from reaching an agreement.
To be included in the November electoral consultation, the bill required the approval of a two-thirds majority in the two legislative chambers in this Thursday’s vote. Now we will have to wait until November 2022 when a new constitutional referendum for the amendment would be held. It means that at least until 2023 state gamblers will not be able to count on legal betting.
The tribes’ opposition to SCA-6 was due in part to their refusal to formally legalize ‘player banking’ card games, which are operated by state card rooms. For the tribes, the monopoly on “home banking” card games, such as baccarat and blackjack, must be kept under their control.
The adjustments made by Senator Dodd to SCA-6 were not enough for the tribes, who refused to accept the compensation proposed in the reformed bill, after a contentious hearing.
In addition, the tribes have their own proposal in which mobile betting is not included, but does include squats for the gaming rooms. The covid-19 coronavirus outbreak prevented tribes from collecting the million signatures necessary to include the proposal on the ballot. It was unacceptable to the tribes that Dodd and Gray’s proposal move forward while theirs did not.
To delay the process and buy time, the tribes sued the state while collecting the rest of the signatures. They allege that they would not have to start the process from scratch and have to spend another $ 8.5 million to include their proposal on the 2022 ballot.