While there will be a California online sports betting initiative on the 2022 ballot, some tribes already are preparing for 2024.
A spokesman for the tribal campaign verified to PlayCA that it submitted signatures Monday for county verification on the constitutional amendment that combines in-person and online sports wagering. Monday was the six-month deadline for the California sports betting campaign to circulate its petition.
Tribal chairpersons for San Manuel, Rincon, Graton Rancheria and Wilton Rancheria filed the sports betting initiative last November with the possibility of making the 2022 ballot.
However, the campaign opted to focus on defeating Prop 27, the online wagering measure backed by sportsbook operators. Once the dust clears on the 2022 election battle between the tribal in-person sports betting initiative and online operator measure, their initiative could run in 2024.
With the focus on 2022, the San Manuel-led campaign submitted signatures for the Age-Verified Tribal On-Line and In-Person Sports Wagering & Homelessness Solutions Act with little fanfare. There was no press release or quotes given.
The campaign did not reveal how many raw signatures. Local elections officials have eight days to determine a raw count of unverified signatures and report the count to the California Secretary of State.
Counties then have 30 working days to conduct a random sampling.
Qualifying a constitutional amendment for the ballot in California requires 997,139 valid signatures. If the random sample shows more than 110% of the required signatures, the initiative becomes eligible for the ballot.
If the sample shows fewer than 95% of the required signatures, the initiative fails. When between 95% and 110%, officials check each signature.
Given the large lead time before the 2024 election, there’s plenty of time for the initiative to qualify by a full count if needed.
Details of California online sports betting initiative
Here’s how the tribal online sports betting initiative compares to the proposal from operators on the 2022 ballot:
- Each authorizes wagering on professional, college and some amateur sports. They prohibit wagering on high school sports.
- In the tribal proposal, tribes enter compacts with the state and contract with sportsbook operators as vendors. They pay no licensing fees.
- The operator proposal makes sportsbook operators the licensees and requires they partner with tribes. A $100 million initial license fee limits the number of operators who would be available to partner with tribes.
- Each provides revenue toward combatting homelessness and mental illness. For the tribal measure, it’s 10% of revenue. For operators, it’s 85% of the 10% tax.
- The tribal measure gives an additional 15% to tribes with limited or no gaming. Operators give 15% of the 10% tax to the many tribes that don’t offer sports betting.
- Caps management service providers partnering with tribes to operate online sports betting to 40% of net revenues. It also limits such partnership agreements to seven years.
- The tribal measure requires in-person registration for online sports wagering accounts at tribal casinos or facilities set up within 10 miles of tribal lands.
Elements of the tribal online sports betting method have come into question in a legal challenge of the Seminole Tribe’s compact with Florida. That issue should be settled prior to the 2024 election.