California Lawmakers Will Dive Into Sports Betting In January

By in Gambling Laws on

Despite California’s Native American tribes breaking off and filing their own amendment, state legislators are moving forward with the decision to put a sports gambling initiative on the ballot. This is a stark contrast to where state lawmakers were nine months ago when sports betting wasn’t even a priority.

The proposed bill, ACA 16, is a constitutional amendment that would allow sports gambling in California. Senator Bill Dodd, the chairman of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee which oversees gambling in the state, is the co-author of the bill.

Adam Gray, the primary author, and Dodd intend to push forward with hearings in the New Year. The first hearing is scheduled for January 15th, which will be the catalyst for several more hearings before the legislature finalizes any potential bill in June.

Tribes File Own Ballot Initiative

Eighteen of the state’s most influential gaming tribes filed their own initiative to amend the state’s constitution to allow sports betting at tribal racetracks and casinos. They filed this ballot initiative just two days prior to the original hearing date, but this new filing was not to blame for the hearing’s delay.

The first hearing for ACA 16 was meant to be on November 20th; however, according to Dodd, the tribes’ decision to file their own ballot initiative had nothing to do with the delay. Instead, he said, it was the fault of the California wildfires which caused the need to postpone. After that, rescheduling became a bit of a problem for a few months.

Dodd Not Happy With The Tribe’s Initiative

Senator Dodd and Gray wanted to begin this process of hearings by listening to all parties involved before constructing their draft and submitting it to the state. That is no longer the case since the tribes have filed their own initiative.

According to, Dodd expressed frustrations over the tribes’ initiative because it only served their interests and didn’t take into consideration other major factors like online wagering.

Mobile Betting Will Be a Huge Part of The Bill

Gray and Dodd’s new bill is intended to allow for online betting and to address problems, both short- and long-term, of the gambling industry. Dodd insists that other states have had a lot of success due to online sports gambling like in New Jersey where mobile betting makes up approximately 80 percent of all revenue.

Dodd would further express his concerns that if the state doesn’t include mobile sports betting then Californians would continue to seek offshore sportsbooks for placing wagers.

Representatives from all different stakeholders, including from the tribes, are going to be joining Gray and Dodd in Sacramento in January at the hearing.

The goal is to have a full bill with specifics all set by March 2020.
Rick Rockwell

As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...

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