California Waits Hearing on SCA 6 Sports Betting Bill

Last week, California lawmakers were scheduled to have a hearing in SCA 6 June 18. The goal of the hearing was to get two-thirds approval vote to pass a sports betting bill that will go on the November ballot. Now, the hearing for SCA 6 was suspended and will have a new hearing on Tuesday.
The suspension gives Sen. Bill Dodd, creator of SCA 6, a few extra to gain support for the bill. Also, Dodd may be working on final verbiage on for the bill to make sure it is ready to go next week.

Regardless, the delay looks to help lawmakers in favor of passing SCA 6. The suspension gives the bill time to gain momentum before its hearing on Tuesday.

What Happens Now

State lawmakers have to wait until Tuesday to vote on the new sports betting bill. The bill goes to the Senates Appropriations Office to before it leaves the suspension files. The goal is to make sure that all the finances involved in the bill are accurate. The office reviews the financial impact the bill will have on the state before it goes back to the floor.

Also, the bill could go over some tweaks to help gain more support. The tribal casinos in California have made it clear about how they feel with SCA 6 moving forward. They were working on gaining signatures for their bill before COVID-19 shut everything down. Outside of sports betting, SCA 6 doesn’t give tribal casinos a fair shake in the deal.

However, Sen. Dodd could adjust during the suspension period to gain more support from the tribal casinos. Overall, the bill needs two-thirds vote to pass. If Dodd makes adjustments that help out casinos, then more momentum could help pass the bill.

Right now, California is proposing that initial licensing fees cost $5 million and sportsbooks will have to pay annual payments of $1 million. Also, tribal casinos and racetracks will be allowed to offer sports betting at their locations. However, cardrooms will be protected by the state as casinos are continually going after cardrooms in legal battles.

Those are some of the proposed rules in SCA 6. Again, things could change come Tuesday. Lawmakers are doing everything in their power to pass the bill.

History in California

The federal government struck down the sports betting law in 2018, and California has struggled to capitalize on launching sports betting since. The gaming history in the state has left lawmakers at a standstill over legalized sports betting.

In 2000, California separated the two of the biggest stakeholders in gaming with casinos and cardrooms offering different games. Casinos were allowed to offer player vs the house games like slots and blackjack. Cardrooms were permitted to offer player vs player games like Texas Hold ‘Em and Poker.

However, over the years, cardrooms tried to get more creative on the games they offered. Tribal casinos have regularly gone after cardrooms for providing player vs the house games, which is illegal for them to do in California. The legal battles have been constant, and when sports betting proposals came to the state, tribal casinos wanted to make sure they weren’t left out.

Tribal casinos tried to get their sports betting bill into state Congress earlier this year. However, COVID-19 slowed down their momentum with gaining the signatures they needed to get a bill approved. Simultaneously, lawmakers proposed its sports betting bill. The proposed sports betting bill will be on the November ballot.

Tribal casinos and cardrooms have always gone back and forth on the states gaming legalities. Casinos want to be fair in legalized sports betting, but also don’t want to feel lawmakers are infringing on their rights. Casinos think that lawmakers are protecting cardrooms best interests instead of creating a fair bill.

The situation in California is a tricky one. There are many parties lawmakers need to consider when trying to legalize sports betting. The goal is to make a fair deal while also trying to add revenue to a state that is desperate need after COVID-19.

Depending on the new rule proposals in SCA 6, Tuesday could be a milestone day for the state. However, Sen. Dodd needs to gain all the support he can so California can move forward with a sports betting bill.

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