No California Sports Betting in 2020If you hadn’t heard, Senate Constitution Amendment 6, (the bill that would have put legalizing sports betting on the ballot in California) has been pulled. Meaning at least a couple more years of lost tax revenue involving numbers with lots and lots of zeroes. The reason given? “Because of COVID-19, we couldn’t bring people together.” This is partially true. In reality, the cause of this financial blunder is totally on the human beings involved. So, for residents of California that already bet on sports, and have been for decades, it’ll be as it is. They’ll be bringing their US Dollars with them on trips to Nevada or any of the other two dozen or so states that have figured out what California couldn’t. To compute the amount of financial benefit that those transactions will bring to the state of California requires a lot fewer zeroes. Even worse, some of that dinero will end up as Pesos at Caliente in Mexico or Colons in Costa Rica. In these cases, where non-US entities are involved, nobody in America benefits. Whether sports betting in California is legal or not, will in no way, shape, or form, deter gambling on games. That’s the saddest part of this story. It’s already happening. The California State Legislature wouldn’t be creating anything. It’s not like gambling is new to the 31st state.
New Jersey Before California, Really?In the two years since PASPA was overturned, New Jersey has almost caught up to Nevada in total legalized sports betting. Most of the action in that state is via mobile apps. If the Garden State can generate, according to MarketWatch.com, $28M in annual tax revenue, how much money would California be pumping into its purse each year? Ironically, as the California Sports Betting industry remains “illegal”, there are lots of things you can bet legally in the nation’s largest state. We’re talking not only the number one state in terms of population but also in the number of professional sports franchises that have their homes within its borders. The location of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which celebrates its centennial in 2023, offers its residents a lottery, horse racing, card rooms, and a bazillion tribal casinos. Sports betting, however, remains a no-no. Dozens of other states where Belly Up Sports writers live have already reacted to the Supreme Court’s overturning of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA). Arkansas has legalized sports betting. Arkansas! Who would have believed that you could be popping a Razorbacks’ wager before getting a legal one down on the Trojans?
California Sports Betting: The Perfect CharactersEvery show needs a set of actors to pull off the story, no matter how well the script is written. California sports betting is no different. The Golden State is home to Hollywood; aka the “Land of Dreams!” and a boatload of possible sports betting revenue.
What Actors Would Play the Roles?It would take some effort to cast the main players in the comedic tale that is California sports betting. Rather, let’s find a few choices that have already shown their ability to play the role and let them run with it. These are all characters we’ve seen before. We know exactly what we’re getting from them. Previous scripts they’ve mastered allowed us to see either their dependability or lack of, firsthand. Netflix offers us the opportunity to follow the class these actors have shown if any, on-demand. Seems like that would be the quickest way to round up a troupe.
Sports Betting in California: Introducing the cast
Lloyd Christmas/Harry Dunne as the California State LegislatureIt takes a lot of dumb to cover some politicians. Lloyd and Harry, of Dumb and Dumber fame, seem up to the task. There are 80 members in the California State Assembly and 40 more in the Senate. Those two guys from Providence look like they have plenty enough dumb to cover the way most of those 120 individuals have acted for the last few years. There has been paperwork regarding legalizing sports betting in Sacramento since at least 2017. Of course, the representatives will remind you of all the other crap they’ve had to deal with all this time. Sure, wildfires and mudslides are serious natural disasters and involve incredible efforts. However, you only have to focus on getting your constituents the ability to parlay the Raiders and 49ers once. It’s one piece of legislation that should have been a no-brainer. California, in case you haven’t noticed, those natural disasters ain’t going away anytime soon. Why not start bringing in the tax money right now. Allowing mobile wagering is also crucial to the success of sports betting in California. Of course, if your main focus isn’t making your state a better and safer place to live it makes sense. When your emphasis is on keeping your seat with help from the various tribal leaders that want sports betting all to themselves it’s exactly what you do.
Eric Bates as the California Tribal LeadersWorking with heavyweights like Richard Pryor and Jackie Gleason can’t hurt your resume and Eric Bates showed us he knows how to act spoiled when he starred as the rotten little kid in The Toy.
If I Can’t Have It, Then Nobody Can!In 1998, tribes in California spent $68 Million to garner 5 million “Yes” votes and get Prop 5 approved. (62.38% – 37.62%) The legislation allowed for gambling activities on Indian lands. When you learn how much money their gambling ventures take in each year; you’ll see that expenditure wasn’t a bad ROI for only $1.36 a vote! Since that year the tribes have had a monopoly on gambling in the state.
How Long Ago is 1998?Amazon lost 112 Million in 1998. Back then, the San Diego Padres were good! Facebook was still years away since Zuckerberg was only 14 when Prop 5 passed. So, now the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) thinks what’s best for them is what’s best for everybody else here in the El Dorado State. Remember the “Mine Mine Mine” seagulls from Finding Nemo? They actually made it through callbacks for this role.
“Mine, Mine, Mine”Here’s a quote from an article in the Legal Sports Report by Matthew Kedell. “Some tribal leaders expressed fears that mobile sports wagering could negatively affect what they’ve built with their brick-and-mortar casinos.” Well DUH! Tell that to your local small business owner who is dealing with Amazon. Take out the word tribal and drop in business then substitute businesses for casinos and welcome to the reality that is technology and evolution. In a free-market economy businesses fail all the time and most monopolies are illegal. Tribal casinos generate an estimated $8 Billion (that’s a B) in annual revenue. Maybe it’s time they think about what’s best for the state and not just themselves. While they’re at it they should back off of the cardrooms a wee bit. If you didn’t know any better, and you listened to CNIGA, you’d think the local card rooms were Al Capone’s Chicago Outfit.
Big Boy’s Gang as the California CardroomsThere are approximately 70 or so cardrooms in California. While the Tribal PR machine paints them as possibly dangerous and sometimes law-breaking businesses, they’re more like Mumbles and Flattop from Dick Tracy.
Many of California’s cardrooms could fit in the bathrooms at Pechanga Resort CasinoHowever, a constant barrage of bad media hasn’t helped this group’s chances of getting a taste of the good stuff that is sports betting. Stories of money laundering, tax dodging, terrorist connections, gang activity, and drug usage are just some of the headlines you’ll get when reading about these places online. It seems like these guys don’t have to worry about Tracy as they’re their own worst enemies.
Buzz & Woody as Assemblymember Adam Gray and Senator Bill DoddSportsBettingWeekly.com started airing on ESPN 1700 in 2015. Since that time two politicians have stood out as the “good guys” of the plot that is legalizing sports betting in California. This pair is doing as much for their constituents as Buzz & Woody ever did for that gang in Andy’s bedroom. They’ve both been honorable public servants for a long time.
Our Two Heroes!State Assemblymember Adam Gray has represented District 21 since 2012. Somewhere around 2017, he began pushing the legalized sports betting idea to Lloyd and Harry. In 2019 he introduced Assembly Amendment 16 “to authorize and provide for the regulation of sports wagering”. The principal coauthor of that resolution was Senator Dodd. The 3rd District is Senator William “Bill” Dodd’s territory. He’s been helping people that have voted for him almost his entire adult life. There was a thriving career in the business world before he joined the political arena. Since then his positions have included Napa County Board of Supervisors, State Assembly Member, and, since 2016, State Senator. Plus, early last season he picked a couple of NFL underdogs on our celebrity ATS show and they both won on the field! If that doesn’t earn you respect, nothing will. In 2019 he introduced Senate Amendment 6 with the coauthor Adam Gray. As you can see, both of our champions have worked on each other’s legislation. Unfortunately, as of now, neither of their attempts are making the state a penny worth of tax revenue.