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New Hope For Legal Sports Betting in California

A recent bid to legalize sports betting in California may have failed. But there are renewed hopes that legal sports betting in the most popular American state could get another vote as soon as 2021.

This is because there has been a new proposal put forward by the California Native American tribes. The initiative won’t feature in November’s elections, but there are plans to put it to the vote before the end of 2021. 

Efforts were made to introduce the tribal initiative in 2020. But such plans were temporarily put aside due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. However there is a renewed push to gather together enough signatures to take the proposal to the next level. 

This push has gained extra momentum with the news that a judge in California allowed an extension to the signature gathering efforts. This means that the organizers will have to reach the minimum amount of 997,139 signatures by October 12. Doing so would put the proposal before the voters in November 2022. 

Potential schedule changes

However, there is also the possibility that an earlier election could also be called by the governor  to resolve the issue. While this is an option, such a special election hasn’t taken place in the state for over a decade. But the current pandemic could bring forward the issue.

The tribal coalition will be hoping to get the initiative to voters as soon as possible. This would allow the proposal to be put to the vote without too much competition in terms of alternative amendments. 

The legislature’s sports betting bill was defeated earlier this year as a result of tribal opposition. While the drop in revenues from the pandemic improved the chances of the bill being passed, tribal leaders felt that legal sports betting should be restricted to racetracks and physical casinos.

Such opposition meant that California’s sports fans would once again be unable to try online or mobile betting. The stalemate has meant that California is at odds with the prevailing trends for legalized sports betting in the US. 

Over 20 states now permit legal sports betting. Ever since the US Supreme Court allowed states to make their own rules regarding sports betting, many states have permitted the activity to generate extra revenues. It has been estimated that there is over $10 billion in yearly illegal betting activity in California alone. As such, the renewed push to legalize sports betting couldn’t be better timed. 

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