Legalised sports betting for California?

News on 21 Aug 2018

In the apparent absence of a sense of urgency on sports betting by California lawmakers, state political consultant Russell Lowry has reportedly launched a petition for the legalisation of sports betting to be included on the 2020 state ballot, pushing the issue forward in the event of a positive vote.

California secretary of state Alex Padilla said this week that the launch of the petition starts the process, but cautioned that it will be required to gather 585,407 signatures by February to get onto the ballot.

Lowry’s proposal would expand tribes’ rights over certain games but would also extend competition for them as it would clear non-tribal cardclubs to take sports wagers.

That prospect has already raised some red flags among California’s powerful tribal gaming interests, with spokesmen for both the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians and the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians.

Speaking for the Pechanga, chairman Mark Macarro said this week that the Lowry proposal would bring Vegas-style gaming to nearly 100 locations and urban areas throughout California.

“This is not in keeping with California’s longstanding policy of limited gaming, and we will vigorously oppose this measure,” Macarro threatened.

David Quintana, who represents tribal gaming groups such as the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians near San Diego, said: “Our first priority with sports wagering is to ensure that brick-and-mortar casinos are protected.”

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