California Committee approves sports betting bill

Simona Boshkova | Published 4 Jun 2020, 12:29 p.m.

There are a couple of US states that showed interest in expanding online gaming options. Since many of them are facing a decrease in revenue, the states are looking for options to recover at least a part of the funds. For example, Ohio is one of the latest US states that is looking to legalise sports betting

California is another state that has the potential to boost revenue by increasing gambling options. Shortly after we reported that some of the California lawmakers considered sports betting legalisation as a way to increase revenue, the California Committee has approved the sports betting bill.

The bill sets out plans for a statewide sports betting

On Tuesday, the California State Senate Governmental Organization Committee has approved a constitutional amendment bill for allowing sports betting in the state. The Committee voted 9-3 in favour of the Senate Constitutional Amendment 6 (SCA-6). The bill will now travel to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has scheduled its next hearing for June 9.

The SCA-6 bill was proposed by the Committee chair Bill Dodd and has been filed in the Assembly by Assemblyman Adam Gray. Its purpose is legalising both land-based and online sports betting through the state’s racetracks and tribal casino operators. It sets out plans for a statewide referendum on sports betting. With this bill, the tribal casinos and racetracks would be able to operate legal betting in the state. The tribes would also be able to add roulette and craps to their gaming offerings.

The operators that will be offering sports betting would be able to offer online betting which will be subject to a 15% gross revenue tax, and retail taxed at 10%. They will also be required to pay an initial $5m licence fee and an annual renewal fee of $1m and may operate one online “skin”.

Furthermore, the bill also includes amendments to the California constitution to recognise the rights of the card rooms to offer player-dealer games. If the bill passes both chambers of the California legislature, the state will add a question on sports betting on the November 2020 ballot and will require a two-thirds majority to become law.

Rhode Island casinos will have a limited reopening

On the other hand, there has been news on the gaming situation in another US state, which is Rhode Island. The casinos in Rhode Island have been closed since mid-March and the state hasn’t seen any revenue from sports betting in April. However, they will be reopened on June 8 with a couple of restrictions.

The state’s two casinos, Twin River Casino Hotel in Lincoln and the Tiverton Casino Hotel, are planning to reopen in a few days and will be inviting only chosen members who can bring one guest. In the beginning, only video slots and virtual table games will be available for playing, while the sportsbook and table games will remain closed. The state still hasn’t announced when the second phase, which would include sportsbooks and table games, will start.

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