California Tribes Urging Lawmakers to Get on the Same Sports Betting Page

The need for change when it comes to California sports betting is something that has been discussed for a while now. Last fall, there were two propositions on the November ballot, with fans across the state hoping that one would get approved. That didn’t happen, which truly was a shock for so many. Now, the future for sports betting in the area is totally up in the air. That’s why the California tribes urging lawmakers to get on the same sports betting page isn’t a shocker.

For years now, the tribes have been trying to get things rocking with sports betting, but they haven’t had much luck. The tribes had one of the main propositions for the latest ballot, but they were facing off against the project led by the group of major sportsbooks. Neither passed, sending things back to square one. Now, tribal leaders are coming out in full force to try and get the lawmakers to help get the right ball addressed, while calling for the sportsbooks to step up as well.

“Either they (sportsbooks) massively underestimated the size and reach of those tribes, both politically and financially, or they maybe had bad campaign consultants,” California Nations Indian Gaming Association chairman James Siva said per a report. “I think there’s still a path for tribes and the commercial operators to work together, but it’s going to be a path and relationship that’s decided by the tribes. This isn’t the first time we’ve had commercial entities want a seat at the table as equal to tribes.”

Siva and others are ready to try and work closely with others, but there’s no question that the California tribes want to take the lead in running the sportsbooks. This is similar to what we’ve seen in Florida, as The Seminole Tribe reached a deal with the state to operate sports betting, but a lawsuit filed in court overturned that ruling and now things remain illegal. No one knows if and when California sports betting will arrive, but the tribes are ready to roll up their sleeves.

California missed out on major Super Bowl revenue

What feels like a major loss for the state this winter is that California missed out on major Super Bowl revenue earlier this month. Matter of fact, that state has been losing out on millions of dollars since September, as we’ve seen a flurry of football wagers in the past few months. When it comes to checking the NFL betting odds, people are always going to be intrigued about the latest numbers.

Not only that, but the Super Bowl betting was through the roof this year, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles putting on a show last weekend. The Chiefs ended up winning it all, with Patrick Mahomes taking home Super Bowl MVP honors. Before the game and during, an incredible amount of bets were placed. Ahead of the action, it was projected that around $16 billion worth of Super Bowl wagers would be placed.

We saw an incredible amount of bets being placed in the United States alone, however nothing, legally, was able to be done in California. As we’ve stated several times before, illegal activity is always going to be strong in California, but that’s not what any of the officials or lawmakers want to see. The illegal bets were surely high for the Super Bowl, which is disappointing all around for so many people.

Not only that, but the illegal betting was strong during the College Football Playoff, as a lot of folks checked the NCAAF betting odds and then put their money down through a bookie or off-shore account for the National Championship Game. This is something that can’t continue to keep going down in California. Something must be fixed here, which is why the tribes are adamant on getting people to work together to come to a solution.

No new California sports betting bills appear to be in the works

To make things even worse, no new California sports betting bills appear to be in the works, which will only delay the potential movement for something to get done. At the same time, this could be a case of people wanting to come up with the best possible bill before things eventually get passed and then are moved on for the voting process.

The absolute last thing anyone wants to see is for a mediocre bill to be presented in front of the voters. Last November, we saw what happened, as both ideas failed.  The next time a bill is put on the docket for the good people of California to vote on, it must be a spectacular one. Otherwise, we could see another year come and go without things being legalized.

This can’t continue to happen for the state, as each year without legal sports betting results in millions of dollars being left off the table for revenue purposes. Down the road, the hope is things can be flipped, and you already know the tribes and their leaders will continue pushing for something to get done.

Chris Boline

Chris Boline is a renowned sports journalist with a lifelong passion for the industry. Originally from Reno, Nevada, he is a key business development figure in college athletics, with over a decade of experience with the NBA G League, Los Angeles Chargers, and Mountain West Conference. Boline holds an MBA from the University of Nevada. He has received MVP and "Best of" honors from the NBA/Sacramento Kings, Nevada Press Association, and more. His work has been showcased statewide and nationally. Boline has established himself as an expert in MLB and legal sports betting developments. When he's not immersed in the world of sports, Chris finds joy in exploring nature's wonders.