A bill introduced earlier in the month to allow California racetracks, simulcast wagering facilities, and card rooms to offer sports betting has now been modified to include Indian tribes. Indian tribes had been opposed to this bill due to the potential impact it would have on tribal gaming facilities. but the new amendment to SB 1390 should change that.
The inclusion of the tribes was described in the bill as follows:
“Existing federal law, the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, provides for
the negotiation and execution of tribal-state gaming compacts for the
purpose of authorizing certain types of gaming on Indian lands within
a state. The California Constitution authorizes the Governor to negotiate
and conclude compacts, subject to ratification by the Legislature.”
“Existing law expressly ratifies a number of tribal-state gaming compacts,
and amendments of tribal-state gaming compacts, between the State of
California and specified Indian tribes.”
“This bill would provide that a federally recognized Indian tribe may
conduct sports wagering on Indian lands consistent with the
requirements of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, and under
terms no more stringent than those applicable to any other owner or
operator in the state.”
Should the bill pass the California legislature, they would still need to challenge the Federal government’s ban on sports betting. At present, sports betting is only legal in four states with New Jersey looking to enter the market should they win their challenge.
This inclusion of the Indian tribes could be a stepping stone to eventual online poker legalization in the state. If lawmakers could find a way to include tribes in that bill like they were in this sports betting bill, it would clear a major hurdle for the state and ultimately open up the largest online market in the US.