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California Sports Betting Ballot Amendments

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Eagle1 Acquisitions Corp., the group that supports a proposal to legalise sport betting in California has amended its ballot initiative to try to increase tribal support.

The Sports Wagering Regulation Act and Tribal Gaming Protection Act was introduced in October. The ballot, if approved, would amend Article IV section 19 of California Constitution. The tribes will be granted exclusive rights to retail betting and online gambling.

In the original version, there were several measures. Tribes were required to deposit 15% of their gross sports wagering gaming revenues into a trust fund for tribal revenue sharing.

The tribes will also donate 10% of the adjusted GGR from their sports betting to California’s homelessness and Mental Health Fund. Tribes will also need to partner with sports betting operators who would act as vendors. Both the Tribal Gaming Agency as well as California Gaming Agency will need to approve these.

Some people supported the first ballot, but there were still questions about some measures. Eagle1 amended the ballot in response to feedback received from tribal leaders, operators outside of state, regulators, and other stakeholders.

What changes have been made to the California ballot for sports betting?

In the amendments, it is stated that betting on sports cannot be done before 1 July 2025. The original date was 1 September 2025.

The income-to-revenue share of tribes has increased. Those tribes receiving approximately $1.0m (PS793,496/EUR926,803) annually under current conditions would receive an estimated 15-20 times more under the proposed measures.

Contributions to the trust fund for tribal gambling revenue sharing from sports betting GGR have also been increased, going up to 25%. After two years, the requirement to register for online gambling in person for people who live outside a 10 mile radius of a casino will be lifted.

The ballot also makes it simpler for tribes now to be their own affiliates. The taxation of promotional credits after 5 years was agreed.

It was also stated that the tribes would not be required to contribute any money to the passing of the proposal. Eagle1 is responsible for the full cost, which includes the signature drive at an estimated cost of $25.0m as well as the public voting campaign likely to cost hundreds of millions.

California could become the biggest legalised sports betting market of the US, according to the ballot. The ballot estimates that annual bets could reach $60bn, and revenues $3bn.

The importance of tribal support to the success of a ballot is paramount

Eagle1’s Kasey Thomson says that it is hoped these changes will increase support among tribes. Thompson, who was also the architect of the proposal, said that the ballot would not be successful without the tribes’ support.

Thompson explained: “We updated a proposal which had been endorsed by more than 70 tribal groups and was considered one of the best tribal proposals ever. We made changes based on feedback from tribal members and regulators, and brought it up to date with today’s current legal environment.”

We are attempting to create something for all. The success of this initiative depends on tribal support. We will not place it on the ballot unless a majority tribe has approved.

Reeve Collins is the co-founder of Pala Interactive and its CEO. He also supported these amendments. Collins stated: “We have removed the language that was deemed unworkable by the tribes, and we’ve created something for everyone for the very first time. It includes the tribes, casinos on land, regulators and out-of state operators, as well as Californians.

This is an innovative and tribally-based proposition which finally opens the door to sports betting in California.

Eagle1 will also bear the full financial burden of supporting the proposal, which includes the signature drive, at an estimated cost of $25 million, and the campaign to get the people to vote, costing several hundred millions of dollars.

Eagle1 said that it would continue to work closely with tribal leaders in order to gain support for this proposition. The goal is to get it on the ballot in 2024 California elections and eventually pass it as law.

Next?

Pala Interactive was given 180 days from the date of the original ballot to collect the signatures required by random sample. The deadline for this would be 23 April 2024.

For the ballot to go before voters, 874.641 supporters would be required. The election officials will also have to check a minimum 500 signatures. The election in 2024 will be held on the 5th of November.

The time between submitting the ballot and gathering signatures must be 65 days. The signatures would be collected on the 1st of January.

Can California legalize sports betting in California?

California voters rejected the sports betting proposal in November last year. It is doubtful that a second attempt at sports betting will succeed.

A poll conducted in February of 2022 revealed some support for a legalized sports betting. It was announced that a proposal would be on the May ballot in 2022. The Tribal Sports Wagering Act Initiative, a sports betting initiative supported by gaming tribes, was also to be included.

Nevertheless, Democrats in California advised voters to vote against the proposals. The two proposals were eventually placed on the ballot for November 2023, but ultimately voters rejected them.

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