Eagle1 Acquisitions Corp., the group of backers for a proposition to legalize sports betting in California, has made several amendments to its ballot initiative in an effort to gain further tribal support.
Tabled in October, the Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act would allow for legal betting. If approved, the ballot would amend Article IV, section 19 of the California constitution, granting tribes exclusive rights to offer retail and online betting.
The initial version of the ballot set out several measures, including tribes submitting 15% of adjusted sports betting gross gaming revenue into a tribal wagering revenue sharing trust fund. Tribes would also contribute 10% of their adjusted sports wagering GGR into the California homelessness and mental health fund. The tribes would need to partner with sports betting operators, who would require approval from both the Tribal Gaming Agency and California gaming agency.
The first version of the ballot drew some support, but questions remained over some of its measures. Eagle1 has now amended the ballot after feedback from tribal leadership, out-of-state operators, regulators, and other stakeholders.
Amendments include a delay in the offering of sports wagering until July 1, 2025, a rise in income to revenue share for tribes, and an increase in sports betting GGR contributions to the tribal wagering revenue sharing trust fund from 15% to 25%. Additionally, the requirement for in-person online gambling registration for those outside of a 10-mile radius from a casino would be removed after two years.
The ballot now makes it easier for tribes to become their own affiliates, and any promotional credits would be taxed after five years.
In addition, tribes will not have to provide any financial backing to support the passage of the proposition, with Eagle1 bearing the entire burden. The ballot maintains that California has the potential to become the largest legalized sports betting market in the US, estimating annual wagers of $60 billion and revenue of $3 billion.
Eagle1 partner Kasey Thompson says it is hoped the changes will secure more support from tribes. Thompson added that without this backing, the ballot will not pass.
Reeve Collins, co-founder and CEO of Pala Interactive, also backed the amendments, stating that this is a forward-thinking and tribal-centric proposition that finally paves the way for sports betting in California.
The backers aim to get the proposition on the ballot for the 2024 California election and ultimately pass it into law. However, there are doubts over whether trying again so soon after will be successful, as voters in California rejected sports betting proposals just last November.
Only time will tell if California will finally legalize sports betting.