California cities seek to add another sports betting measure to Ballot 22

Posted: August 16, 2021, 12:29 p.m.

Last update on: August 17, 2021, 12:31 p.m.

There’s already a sports betting initiative in California that has been approved for the 2022 ballot, and now a group of cities in Golden State are pushing for another.

California gambling halls
Players gather at the Kings Card Club in Stockton, California. Last week, officials from three California cities submitted a sports betting referendum proposal to the state attorney general’s office. (Image: VisitStockton.com)

On Thursday, an organization called Cities for Responsible Sports Betting announced that it had filed a proposed measure with California Attorney General Rob Bonta. The California Sports Betting and Consumer Protection Act is currently posted on the Attorney General’s website for a 30-day public comment period.

The title of the measure is the same as a constitutional amendment proposed by state Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) in June 2019. It failed to make it out of the state Senate committee the last year. The text of the measure is similar, although there are differences – notably in tax rates, license renewal fees and the programs that can be financed by sports betting.

The initiative currently plans to allow tribal Class III casinos, racetracks, card rooms and major professional sports teams in the largest US state the ability to partner with licensed operators for physical sports betting. and online. The licenses would cost $5 million and would be renewable every two years for $1 million, and the state would tax gross gaming revenue at 25%.

The state would use the net proceeds to fund public education, affordable housing, homelessness and mental health programs.

Colma Vice Mayor Helen Fisicaro said in a statement that the Bay Area is an area that continues to grow. But there are still many residents who need vital services. The city is home to Lucky Chances, a 60-table card room.

The revenue we generate by making sports betting legal, while making it safer for consumers, will ensure that those most in need receive food, shelter and other vital and necessary basic services. she said.

Fisicaro, Gardena Mayor Tasha Cerda and San Jose City Council member Raul Peralez filed the proposal.

Sports betting promoters need signatures by April

After the 30-day comment period, the Attorney General will begin work on the circulating title, summary, and full text of the proposed initiative to accompany each copy of the petition as it is distributed statewide. When sponsors receive it from the Attorney General, it will be accompanied by a summary date that will serve as the official start date for collecting signatures.

Once proponents reach the petition collection stage, they will need to collect 997,139 valid signatures from registered voters in their home county to put the measure on the ballot. They will have 180 days from the official abstract date to collect signatures. However, they may have less time than that to get it in next year’s general election ballot.

To get it in the November 2022 ballot, according to a guide from the secretary of state’s office, those signatures would have to be collected by April 26 to give county officials enough time to verify the signatures.

Tribal-backed plan already on 2022 California ballot

In late May, the Secretary of State’s office announced a petition circulated by several tribal gaming operators that also calls for sports betting to be legalized. This garnered over a million valid signatures, making it eligible for next year’s elections.

This initiative, however, only allows the state’s Class III tribal gaming operators and four state-licensed thoroughbred tracks to offer sports betting at their facilities. Additionally, tribal casinos could also host dice and roulette games if this initiative passes. Tribal gaming entities should sign pacts with the state to offer sports betting and the new table games.

Unsurprisingly, the excluded gambling halls criticized the measure and plan to oppose it. Tribal gaming interests are also expected to oppose the recently announced proposal.

Bernard P. Love