Earlier this year, it seemed possible that voters in California would face an incomprehensible civic challenge of choice, which of the four competing measures to legalize sports betting would prevail – if any.
Now, however, it’s up to two, and it could only be one until the November election – or maybe none.
About 30 states have some form of legal betting on sporting events, thanks to a Supreme Court decision in 2018 that lifts the federal ban on such betting. California, the largest potential market, is lagging behind due to long-running disputes over who can use sports books.
Indian tribes, which have a monopoly on casino gambling in California, wanted to expand to sports betting, but the racetrack and local punitive halls also wanted the action, as did large online betting corporations such as Fan Duel and Draft Kings.
The issue has been pounding in the legislature without a solution for several years while competing interests fought for positions. Finally, a group of casino-owned tribes, led by Pechanga, qualified a voting measure that requires personal betting on sports in casinos and on horseback.
This measure also encroached on the old enemies of the tribes, the fodder, subjecting them to some litigation.
In response, the coalition of forages, with the help of local government representatives, put forward a competitive measure that would allow them to participate in the action, but it failed to collect enough signatures.
The Fan Duel / Draft Kings faction then weighed a measure that allows online betting, and this in turn spawned a second coalition of three tribes called Californians for tribal sovereignty and safe games to offer their own online betting measure. .
His sponsors feared that if voters were only offered a choice between betting rates at Pechanga Casino and online bets offered by Fan Duel, Draft Kings, etc., they would choose the latter, preferring to use their computers and smartphones rather than drive to one of tribal casinos that are often located in the countryside.
However, a few days ago, the tribal sponsors of the alternative online measure decided to abandon the vote in 2022, aim for 2024 and put all their efforts to win the version of Fan Duel / Draft Kings. There are already videos on the Internet and on television showing this measure as a seizure of money outside the state.
So it would seem that the stage has been prepared for the total battle for the online measures Fan Duel / Draft Kings – but it’s not easy. Pechanga’s measure, which requires personal bets, has enough signatures to vote, so his tribal supporters must decide whether to continue or abandon it and join another tribal group’s fight against the corporate offer online.
If Pechanga’s measure remains on the ballot, she will also face a fierce opposition campaign from the stern because of her gratuitous lawsuit.
Finally, there is a chance – though probably not a good one – that instead of spending hundreds of millions of dollars fighting each other, the factions will do what they could not do for years: compromise and remove everything from the ballots.
For years, once the measure qualified for the vote, it would remain, even if its sponsors changed their minds. But the recent change in state legislation allows the abolition of qualified measures, which provides leverage to influence legislative action.
This year the provision has already been implemented once. The measure, which changes California’s restriction to the detriment of medical negligence, is being removed because of a compromise that was quickly approved by the legislature.
CalMatters is a community journalism that seeks to explain how the California Capitol works and why it’s important. For more Dan Walters stories, visit Calmatters.org/commentary.