The Senate Committee on Government Organization approved the California sportsbook bill that would allow sports betting in the state. However, the bill calls for a constitutional amendment to make the activity legal.
The committee voted 9-3 in favor of the bill with all Democrats voting in favor and all Republicans against SCA 6. Committee chair Bill Dodd proposed the said bill. It will now head to the Senate Committee on Appropriations. They scheduled a hearing on the bill for June 9.
SCA 6’s companion bill is the ACA 16 filed by Assemblyman Adam Gray. They call for a referendum on legalizing sports betting. It requires at least two-thirds of the voters before it becomes a law. However, the Senate committee had several amendments to the proposed bill.
Amendments of the California Sportsbook Bill
Based on bookie pay per head reports, one of the amendments was allowing only tribal racetracks and casinos to operate sports betting. Thus, card rooms and other potential legal bookies can’t get into the action in California.
Online sportsbooks are subject to a 15 percent gross revenue tax. On the other hand, retail sportsbooks have a ten percent tax rate. The license fee for an online operation is $5 million, with a yearly renewal fee of $1 million. Also, they can only operate a single online skin, according to a political forum.
Aside from sports betting, SCA 6 and ACA 16 want to recognize card rooms’ authority to provide player-dealer games. If approved, card rooms can employ a player to collect losses, and payout wins.
However, the tribal casinos are blocking the provision because it would expand the games offered by the card rooms in the state. They said that it would change the legal structure of the gaming industry in California.
Should the measures get approval from both chambers of the legislature, sports betting will be on the November ballot. Hopefully, they remove the provision that limits sportsbooks to tribal control. That way, entrepreneurs can start their own bookie business. Thus, there’s still enough time to learn what is a pay per head and become a legal bookie in the state.