California sports betting has edged closer to reality after the Senate Committee on Government Organisation approved a bill to regulate sports betting.
The legislation, titled SCA 6, passed with a 9-3 vote in favour.
A hearing has been called for 9th June, with the bill passed forward to the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
Operators that are permitted to offer sports betting will be able to sell these services online.
Only a selection of operators would be allowed to offer the vertical
In order for sports betting to become legal in California, a statewide referendum would need to be held. If two-thirds of the votes were in favour of regulating the vertical, then the legislation would be passed into law.
The referendum would be added to the ballot for this year’s General Election, set to take place in November.
Card rooms would not be allowed to offer sports betting under the proposed legislation, with only tribal casinos and racetracks eligible. However, those that are able to take sports wagers would be allowed to do so both land-based and digitally.
Assemblyman Adam Grey has already filed a partnering bill, titled ACA 16.
Online sports betting would be taxed at 15%, with land-based operations taxed at 10%. An initial $5 million licence fee would have to be paid by operators, as well as a $1 million annual renewal fee. Each licensee would also be permitted to have one online “skin”.
Card rooms’ right to offer player-dealer games is another proposal that has been put forward. Under these rules, a player employed by each venue would collect losses and rake – as well as paying out winnings.
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) disagrees with this move. The organisation believes that it would “fundamentally” change “the legal structure of California’s peer-to-peer gaming industry”.
Home to over 39 million people, California is the largest US state by population. Along with the likes of Florida, it’s one that operators and affiliate alike have been looking at for possible future opportunities. And while the market may be restricted to begin with, it could be the catalyst for opening up in the future.