California Sports Betting Initiatives Highlight Recent Sports Betting News
Headlining sports betting news this week: two California sports betting initiatives were submitted for 2024. Elsewhere, the new Tennessee sports betting tax structure has seen middling returns. Plus, Colorado is likely to join other markets in banning pick ’em-style fantasy sports. Let’s take a closer look at sports betting news in these markets.
California Sports Betting Hopes Return
There have officially been two initiatives submitted that would lead to the launch of California sportsbooks. Both bills would give local tribes exclusive rights to sports betting in the Golden State. California lawmakers attempted to push two sports betting bills in 2022; both measures failed to gain enough votes from residents.
The two measures in 2022 were opposing measures. One focused on bringing online sportsbooks to California, while the other was a tribal-exclusive bill that was retail only. The two current measures, 23-0031 and 23-0030 would bring both online and retail sports betting from tribes only.
Despite the tribal focus of these measures, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) is opposed to the measure.
“The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is deeply disappointed that the sponsors of the two recently filed initiatives did not first reach out to the State’s largest tribal gaming association for consultation and input,” read a statement released by CNIGA. “Instead, CNIGA and our member tribes were alerted to their existence when they were filed with the Attorney General today.
The measures will need 874,641 signatures in order to be placed on the November ballot for 2024. Lawmakers will have four months to gain these signatures.
Tennessee New Tax Structure Underperforms
Lawmakers changed the Tennessee sports betting tax structure back in July. Before, the market taxed sportsbooks 20% on adjusted gross revenue. Now, the market taxes the overall handle by 1.85%. The reason for the change was due to operators failing to maintain a mandatory 10% hold rate requirement.
The change has not brought the financial boost the state was expecting, however. In fact, there has been a noticeable decrease in taxes compared to last year. The September betting report shows that $418,063,447 in gross handle was wagered in September. The state saw $7,715,705 in privileged tax.
Compared to this time last year, Tennessee took in $1 million less in taxes. What makes this decrease so significant is that the Volunteer State saw $83,072,616 more in wagers in 2023 compared to 2022. An increase in wagers and such a decrease in taxes is not what lawmakers had in mind.
With tax not seeing the overwhelming boom that Tennessee expected, it is unlikely that other markets will follow suit. Tennessee may have been the experiment to show other markets that this is not the solution for more tax revenue.
Colorado Moves To Ban Pick’Em Style Games
It appears that Colorado may become the latest market to place an outright ban on pick ’em-style fantasy games. The Colorado Division of Gaming is currently working on its fantasy sports regulations. Proposed changes would outright ban single and multi-player pick’em contests from operating in the Centennial State.
Josh Kirschner, an attorney representing PrizePicks, said that Colorado has gone from one of the “most progressive to one of the most restrictive regimes.” So far, Florida, North Carolina, New York, and Michigan have banned these styles of fantasy sports games.
Like the other markets, Colorado lawmakers believe the pick’em style games are too similar to prop betting at Colorado sportsbooks. If Colorado does ban these kinds of fantasy games, it would be yet another market to view these pick ’em-style games as illegal gambling.