Californians have never been ones to wait around and let government do the work. And keeping in theme with wanting to have a say in what’s next for the state, on Monday, political consultant Russell Lowery filed a request with the state’s attorney general to consider a ballot initiative to legalize California sports betting.
“I think the biggest reason for this is consumer protection. It’s going on now,” Lowery told the Los Angeles Times. “Because of the revenue the state could generate from legal activity plus the consumer protections that could be afforded the gambling public, it ought to be regulated.”
The proposed initiative, titled the Gaming Fairness and Accountability Act, would go on the 2020 ballot.
Potential CA Sports Betting Operators Support the Idea of a Voter-Led Ballot Initiative to Make Sports Betting Legal in the Golden State.
Lowery went on to say that at least half a dozen gaming firms have showed interest in supporting a vote initiative, so he went ahead and filed the request. He said he cannot reveal the names of the interested parties.
Lowery wrote on Medium.com that his reason for filing was, well, politics.
In 2017, Assemblyman Adam Gray filed Constitutional Amendment ACA 18 nearly a year ago. The amendment would allow sports betting in California and allow the state assembly to pass laws with regard to regulations and implementation. Should the amendment pass, California voters would vote on the amendment in the November election.
But Lowery isn’t so sure that Gray is going to make much headway before a June 28 legislative deadline.
Assemblyman Adam Gray’s Constitutional Amendment Would Also Allow Voters to Weigh in, but May Not Get Out of the Legislature This Session.
“Fierce opposition from entrenched special interest groups makes it unlikely to pass through both houses of the state legislature before the June 28 deadline — and proves voters need to take this matter into our own hands,” he wrote on Medium.com.
Lowery is also tapping social media as a way to drum up support for his proposal.
— Californians for Sports Betting (@CAsportsbets) June 9, 2018
California, which is in a massive budget crisis and will elect a new governor in November, could certainly use a new stream of revenue, but bringing all the relevant parties to the table will be challenging. The state has more than 100 tribal casinos and as in many other states, including Connecticut and Michigan, coming to an agreement with tribal groups has been tricky. There are 108 federally recognized tribes in California and approximately 65 of them have compacts with the state.
In California, Indian casinos have exclusive rights to operate casino-style games. There are no commercial casinos in California.