Legislative analysts for Native American tribes in the state of California warned that an amended State Senate bill masked as Covid-19 relief has spread beyond sports betting and is to result in changes to state Constitution that would allow further gambling expansion. Analysts claim that the piece of legislation would help tribes.
Two state lawmakers, State Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray, have made a move to boost legal sports betting in an attempt to help the ailing state budget following the lengthy coronavirus shutdown. However, the revised proposal made by the lawmakers quickly fuelled serious controversy between parties who have powerful gambling interests. The two of them are lobbying to include a proposal for an amendment in California Constitution, which would permit Native American Tribes that run horse racetracks and large Las Vegas-style casinos also offer sports betting at the aforementioned locations and online, on the November ballot.
The proposal, like other before it, has been considered partly controversial due to competition between gambling interests, including card rooms that offer their customers various table games such as poker and blackjack. Under the proposed legislative amendment, tribal casinos would be able to offer roulette and craps but the California Nations Indian Gaming Association has shared fears that the changes would only help card rooms by legalizing a practice that the Attorney General of the state sought to make illegal in 2019.
Native American Tribes Say the Amendment Would Provide Their Rivals with Advantage
According to California card rooms, the regulatory proposal made by the Attorney General would change the way of operation of player-dealer games, while tribal casinos have been saying that those operations have been illegal for years. The latter also claim that the amendment would lead to a significant expansion of games by their competitors.
According to a statement released by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nations earlier this week, the provision would undermine the promises that have been given by the state to Native American tribes by expanding the gambling offering of local cardroom operators, some of which have previously been associated with illegal activities such as tax evasion, fraud and money laundering. The Native American nation also said that it supports sports betting in the state, but tribal leaders were not willing to sacrifice their guests’ comfort only to see their rivals get more gambling options.
Supporters of the measure have claimed that it would relieve the financial difficulties in which the coronavirus lockdown has resulted. They further noted that the first tax revenue from the constitutional amendment would probably become available in the longer term, long after the social isolation and protection measures are lifted.
California follows a number of other US states that have already made sports betting legal after the nationwide ban on the activity was slashed by the US Supreme Court in 2018.