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California Indian Tribes Battling for Sports Betting By 2022

July 10, 2020

While facing strong opposition from Las Vegas lobbyists in support of that state's bookmakers, it's been a long road for Californians to get state access to legalized sports betting. The battle has been moving forward ever so slowly ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled back in May of 2018 that the federal government's ban against such activities was unconstitutional. Where do things stand today?

In the state of California, the state's Indian tribes have long had a stranglehold on most forms of gambling for decades. Of course, that doesn't include horse racing and lotteries. It has been widely accepted that if Californians are ever going to see a day when sports betting is legalized, it will have to be the Indian tribes leading the way.

While state legislators in favor of sports gambling have never been able to gain any legislative momentum, word comes that the state's Indian Tribes are making inroads. Indications are they have made a big move to have sports betting legislation on the ballot in time for the 2020 elections. If they can accomplish this feat, Californians could be gambling on sports from all over the world by sometime in 2021.

The potential bill that could be facing voters in November of 2020 is called the California Sports Wagering Regulation and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act. Originally, the tribes needed to secure a minimum of 997,139 signatures for this bill by a deadline of June 25, 2020, in order to make the aforementioned 2020 ballot. Because of delays that came from the COVID19 lockdown, the California Superior Court has ruled that the deadline will be extended to October 12.

As things stand now, they already have some 971,373 signatures in the bank with most of those having been secured by mid-march before the suspension of activities. While securing 997K+ signatures stands as the legal target, experts make clear that the tribes should plan on securing at least 1.5 million signatures. That should be enough to account for any signatures that might not be valid.

The race is on. Reports are circulating that the securing signature process has slowed, but tribe representatives remain undeterred. There are still three months left on the clock, and the target number is still within the realm of possibility.

Until the beginning of 2020, there didn't seem to be any real possibility California would legalize sports betting within the next five years. This change fast in the gambling industry these days.


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