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Southern California Cities Battling Sports Betting Proposal


A number of cities in Southern California are battling against a sports betting measure that they believe could cripple card rooms in the state. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A potentially costly move

A number of cities in Southern California have come together to battle against a sports betting proposal. The group of cities believes that the betting initiative could cost as many as 32,000 jobs and eliminate $1.6bn worth of wages to state residents as the proposal would negatively impact the state’s card rooms.

Some of the cities involved in the coalition include Compton, Bell Gardens, Hawaiian Gardens, and Commerce. The coalition had a press conference on Thursday in Commerce to air their concerns.

would create a near-monopoly on gambling

The Tribal Sports Wagering Act is the proposal in question. It is a ballot measure on allowing tribal casinos in the state and four California racetracks to offer sports betting. Opponents believe that if the measure is approved following a public vote that it would create a near-monopoly on gambling in the state.

Wide-ranging concerns

There are also concerns about the possible expansion of the Private Attorney General Act. Should the Tribal Sports Wagering Act become law, tribal casinos would be able to hire private trial lawyers and sue card rooms, which opponents say could force some of these establishments to go out of business due to costly litigation.

There are dozens of card rooms in California. They filed their own sports betting proposal, but it did not get much support.

The coalition believes that if voters approve the proposal in November, the Los Angeles region could lose out on tax revenue of more than $70m. Many cities rely on card rooms to create jobs and stimulate economic activity. The resulting tax revenues go toward vital public services like senior services and homelessness programs. Some card rooms have tried to take legal action against the Tribal Sports Wagering Act, but to no avail.

Sports betting looks to be on the horizon

The Tribal Sports Wagering Act is an initiative that has a lot of backing among tribes. Proponents have been successful in gathering enough signatures for the measure to get a place on the November ballot. Tribes want to keep sports betting more or less in their own hands.

Currently, the state’s tribes have exclusivity over slot machines. If the Tribal Sports Wagering Act gets approval, they would also have exclusivity over roulette and dice games, as well as almost total control over sports betting.

As the country’s most populous state, California likely would be a massive sports betting market.

There is another proposal that looks likely to appear on November’s ballot that would legalize sports betting in the state. It would see private operators like DraftKings and FanDuel being able to partner with tribal casinos to launch sportsbooks. The “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act” has submitted more than 1.6 million signatures for verification. It is expected that they will get the 1,096,853 valid signatures necessary for a place on the ballot.



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