Key Differences Between Two California Sports Betting Initiatives

Key Differences Between Two California Sports Betting Initiatives

The legalization of Sports Betting in California is a matter of when, not if. The question that remains, however, is through what means. As of now, two differing initiatives exist.

The “Tribal Gaming Initiative” is one of the articles in question for legalization. The other is the “Cities Gaming Initiative.” While these are the only two initiatives in circulation at the moment, others may come into the fray. But before that happens, it’s worth taking a look at the differences between these two.

The Tribal Gaming Initiative

The Tribal Gaming Initiative was brought forward by the Tribal Chairmen of the Pechanga Indian Reservation Temecula Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, the Barona Band of Mission Indians, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. Each of whom operate Casinos in California.

Like the Cities Gaming Initiative, the Tribal Initiative aims to amend the California’s Constitution so as to permit sports wagering and other gambling games.

Under the Tribal Gaming Initiative, there is no clear path for public benefit of legalization. In fact, the initiative primarily works to serve the Indian Tribes instead of the state. The initiative does not require the Tribes to pay taxes on existing revenues from Casinos, and the same would apply to any revenues from sports betting.

Racetrack operators will be allowed to offer sports betting at the tracks they operate, unless owned by state fairs. This would allow for only four racetracks to offer sports gambling.

On the surface, the city has made it seem like the Tribal Gaming Initiative is a move by the Tribes in California to monopolize the gambling industry in the State. In practically direct response, cities in California created what they deem to be a more inclusive and redistributive initiative.

Cities Gaming Initiative

The Cities Initiative aims to directly benefit the public and the State of California. The Cities Initiative permits many entities, not just Tribal Casinos, to allow sports wagering, while also properly taxing all of those entities.

25% of the tax revenue, the initiative reads, will be going towards causes like homelessness, housing, public education and mental health. Building out proper gambling programs will recieve 1% of revenues as well.

The Initiative would also permit many more entities to offer sports gambling than under the Tribal Initiative. Horse racing tracks, Tribal Casinos, Cardrooms, professional sports venues, as well as online or mobile sports betting operators.

The Cities Gaming Initiative, in opposition to the Tribal Initiative, will also benefit the cities’ Cardrooms. Games like Blackjack, 21 and Baccarat will be permitted on a wider scale.

Summarizing The Two Sides

We can quickly break down the differences in each initiative below, based on the above.

Will the Public Benefit Financially:

Tribal Initiative: No

Cities Initiative: Yes

Who Can Allow Sports Gambling?

Tribal Initiative: Indian Tribes and approves racetrack operators

Cities Initiative: Horse Racing Tracks, Tribal Casinos, Cardrooms, Professional Sports Teams and Online Operators

Taxes Required for All Operators?

Tribal Initiative: No

Cities Initiative: Yes

Will The Initiative Aim to Help the Cities’ Cardrooms?

Tribal Initiative: No

Cities Initiative: Yes

The direction California will take with sports betting is still unclear. What we do know, though, is that the Tribes will do what they can to reap the benefits for themselves. As there is, naturally, a distrust between the Tribes and the Californian Government. While the Tribes would technically be allowed to operate in the Cities’ intiative, there is likely fear of being short-changed.

So while the Cities Initiative appears to offer for more redistribution and fair use, it may come at the expense of the Tribes’ success. In turn, this standoff will be at the forefront of California’s path to legalizing sports wagering.

Author: Erika Simmmons