The state of California could soon have legalized sports betting thanks to a strange and surprising source of support. Native American tribes in the state have formed a coalition in hopes of getting sports betting legalized in the state.
The role that Native American tribes play in sports betting is not uncommon, but the stance that the tribes are taking in California is unique. Other states have tried to legalize sports betting only to have Native American tribes fight back against them.
The exact opposite is happening in California, and it appears that there is some real traction behind this most recent announcement.
Money has been at the forefront of the legalized sports betting argument from the beginning, and that is exactly what is going on here with the Native American tribes. Experts estimate that there is over $150 billion in illegal sports betting revenue, and the Native American coalition wants their piece of that money.
There are 18 tribes in the state that got together to express their support for this issue, and they have also laid out a plan to get this one. The Luiseno Indian tribe is the one leading the coalition, but they have plenty of support from other tribes and from residents and lawmakers in the state.
There has clearly been a change of heart from the Native American coalition because they opposed a sports betting measure just a few months ago. That initial proposal was submitted by state senator Bill Dodd and would have placed the measure on the ballot in 2020.
A new constitutional amendment would be needed to legalize sports betting in the state, and that decision would have to be left up to the voters. Dodd’s measure did not get very far as the Native American tribes immediately came out and tried to shoot it down.
Already A Large Market
California is absolutely loaded with professional sports teams, and the sports betting market is already huge in this state. Instead of casinos and Native American tribes bringing in the revenue, all of this money is now being given to offshore sportsbooks.
There are enough teams in the state to get legalized sports betting up and running, and the Native American coalition is ready to launch. This new proposal is very similar to the one issued by Dodd just a few months ago, but the revenue trail is extremely different and will likely cause some uproar from members of the California legislature.
Even though it does appear that this proposal will have plenty of support, the next step will be for the Native American tribes to begin collecting signatures for a petition. A signed petition will be required to get this measure on the ballot in 2020.
This new proposal would allow for betting on both professional and collegiate sports, and some amateur sports are included as well. Betting on high school sports would not be legalized with this new measure.
Ten percent of all sports betting revenue would be given to the state for infrastructure improvements. This story will be one to keep an eye on as the calendar flips to 2020.