Weekly News – Weekly Roundup 6/17/2022
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It's Friday, and as we're rolling into the slower summer season, the elves at VegasInsider are in the workshop all night to bring you the most precious of gifts: sports betting industry news. Let's take a dive into what states might finally legalize online betting, which might not make the cut, and more:
Does California Know How to Party?
Dr. Dre said "your city is the bomb if your city making pay", but somehow the most populous state in the nation still hasn't solidified a plan for legalizing online sports betting. If California were a country, it would have the fifth largest GDP in the world, and they could steadily make fourth if one of two competing sports betting initiatives can get off the ground.
On the so-called "corporate" side, you have the “Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support" initiative which is quietly backed by a number of large names in the sportsbook industry, including DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. It's no joke: homelessness is a monumental issue in the United States, and we have seen other states with sports betting successfully use revenues from online wagers to bolster education and and humanitarian budgets.
Now we have the federally-recognized native tribes in the state and their “California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands” initiative. According to the 1988 federal law known as IGRA (the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act), have the explicit right to offer gambling on reservation land (and on websites and mobile apps, but this gets complicated, and is not included in the CA tribes' initiative, which may severely impact its chances at passing).
Take a state like Florida, whose Governor Ron DeSantis agreed, without the input of the FL legislature, to give the Seminole Tribe of Florida the right to offer online sportsbooks last year. Within days, a circuit court decided that this was an unconstitutional agreement, and put the kibosh on the practice.
That's what we're looking at in California: tribes want to have the exclusive right to offer betting, and they're fighting tooth and nail to keep it. Should the "Homelessness and Mental Health Support" initiative win out on the November 2022 ballot, CA tribes will still have the opportunity to benefit from sports betting revenue, but it's more than likely that the CA legislature will have their work cut out for them when drafting a law that is agreeable to everyone: we're already seeing the pushback.
Dave's Headline About Florida Sports Betting Was Better
One of our experts Dave Schwab put out a piece this week entitled Legal Sports Betting Remains a Cloudy Issue in the Sunshine State and we're just gonna go with that again.
Florida is the Sunshine State if you didn't know, and the name fits for a lot of reasons. It's no coincidence that "Florida man..." is a common prefix for news headlines with just, bonkers conclusions due to the state's so-called sunshine laws; it's a lot easier in FL to get access to court records and police reports than in some other states, giving click-hungry web journalists more fodder.
What we're saying is that in Florida, it's not easy to keep a secret. Ron DeSantis hoped that he could quietly legalize online sportsbooks through closed-door deals and handshakes, but it took less than a week for the courts to step in and shut the practice down. The question on the lips of Buccaneers fans everywhere: will online sports betting come back to Florida?
Shake your Magic 8 Ball. "Signs point to maybe" is perhaps the least satisfying face on that murky blue 20-sided die (an icosahedron for us nerds), but it's the answer to the question in FL. There's still an outside chance that the compact amendments between DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida will be upheld in appeals, but the earliest resolution date on that would be 2023, and it's just as likely that the tribe will have to start all over again with a ballot referendum in November 2024.
North Carolina Sleeping on Online Sportsbook Bill
This summer's hot "will they, won't they" has all eyes on North Carolina's SB 688, which would legalize online sportsbooks throughout the Tar Heel State. The bill was a stud but is quickly turning into a dud, as the legislative session's end date is June 28th and lawmakers still haven't moved the bill forward.
This bill is ripe for the vintage: it's been in cask since August 2021 when the bill was first introduced, and had the profile to stay in consideration even into 2022. Lawmakers remain confident that the bill will pass by sometime in late June, but there isn't a completely clear path to that yet, and time is ticking away.
A huge state for athletics, North Carolinians are warming up to the idea of legal online betting, and lawmakers are tired of watching revenues leave the state to neighbors Tennessee and Virginia, which both have legal online books.
Written by Chris Altman, our US sports betting industry expert.
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