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Bet On Your Favorite Sports And Play Casino Games At Royal Panda – A player makes a bet while playing a variant of blackjack at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, California. Credit…

TEMECULA, Calif. – Legal sports betting in the United States accelerated in 2021 as a flurry of states cleared legislative hurdles, like Ohio did just before Christmas, or signed on to online betting, like New York did just after Boxing Day. elections

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But those efforts will likely pale in comparison to the daily lobbying, campaigning and legal battles in 2022 involving what a DraftKings executive recently called “one of the Holy Grails” of sports betting: California.

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In November, he could ask Californians to vote on up to four sports betting initiatives. That’s why vested interests, including national sports books and Native American casinos, have prepared to spend $200 million to persuade California voters to support their particular proposal, or to reject the other.

A measure that has already qualified for the statewide ballot, sponsored by powerful California tribes, would add sports betting, but only in person, at tribal casinos or racetracks. Online betting initiatives, which now collect signatures, allow betting anywhere via the Internet. Others offer a middle ground.

If either measure passes, nearly two-thirds of Americans will live in states that allow or regulate sports betting. And with California and New York on board, sports betting will be essentially national in scope, fueling a market that Goldman Sachs recently estimated could grow to $40 billion in revenue within a decade from $900 million now.

However, the expansion of gambling in California often fell short or was torpedoed by competing interests. In fact, California card rooms, which operate primarily in larger cities and offer a more limited range of games, have just filed suit to invalidate the qualified tribe’s measure.

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“We’re never going to figure out sports betting at any level unless California gets on board,” Jason Giles, executive director of the National Indian Gaming Association, said at a recent sports betting conference at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula. “This will be the game changer for the United States.”

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 to strike down a federal law that banned commercial sports betting in states other than Nevada, more than 30 states have legalized sports betting, including a dozen in the past year. More than 20 states have implemented it.

New York has just started mobile sports betting after licensing it to two brand coalitions, Caesars Sportsbook and Bally’s Interactive. Governor Mike DeWine of Ohio signed a bill in late December to legalize sports betting. And lawmakers in Wyoming and Arizona, among others, quickly approved sports betting.

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“You look at this massive expansion across the country and where we are — it’s becoming very popular,” said Brandt Iden, a former Michigan state representative who pushed for the legalization of sports betting in his home state. Iden is now head of government affairs at Sportradar, which collects and analyzes data from sportsbooks. “I talk to lawmakers who say, you know what, I don’t support gambling, but everybody does.”

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Of the holdouts, Texas has several bills under consideration in 2021, and some lawmakers hope for momentum when the legislature meets in 2023. Florida, meanwhile, is a mess: A federal judge recently blocked the Seminole Tribe’s new sports betting application, and DraftKings and FanDuel are racing to gather enough signatures to get a referendum on the 2022 ballot.

In California, gambling, primarily slot machines and blackjack, has been legal on tribal lands for two decades under negotiated agreements with the state. The state also allows gambling at racetracks, which were legalized in 1933, and card rooms, which trace their lineage back to the miners who played poker during the gold rush.

Previous attempts have stalled; Online poker, for example, failed in part because the tribes themselves were divided. But now there seems to be less resistance on moral and philosophical grounds.

Mary Cheeks, president and general manager of Jamul Casino, asked a question during a panel at the National Indian Gaming Association conference at Pechanga Resort Casino.

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“When we think about progressive legislation or legislation to protect consumer welfare, California is at the forefront, whether we want to talk about minimum wage or privacy protection,” said Marc Edelman, a Baruch College law professor who has written extensively on sports. . . to bet “If California legalizes sports gambling, it becomes highly unlikely that another state will emerge as a consumer-oriented opponent of sports gambling.”

This time, the effort to expand gambling before the pandemic began came from a coalition of 18 tribes that dominated gambling in the state.

Across the United States, tribal gaming generated $27.8 billion in revenue in its fiscal year from October 1, 2019, to September 30, 2020, despite the pandemic. California is the largest state, with 66 tribal casinos on federally recognized land, mostly far from the coast, that generate about $8 billion, much of which comes from slot machines.

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Under the tribes’ initiative, which is backed by a political action committee that has raised more than $13 million, sports betting would be allowed at tribal casinos and horse tracks. Roulette and games played with dice, such as craps, would also be allowed under the proposal, which qualified for the May 2021 ballot after collecting more than one million valid signatures.

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One thing not included is online betting, because the initiative is intended to be “a very measured and incremental step,” said Mark Macarro, tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians in Riverside County.

Mark Macarro, president of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and first vice president of the National Congress of American Indians, at the National Indian Gaming Association conference.

“We believe it is the right thing for tribes and tribal sovereignty,” he said at the conference here. “There’s quite a bit of shame out there about what can happen to physical facilities.”

The initiative will also create a new civil enforcement tool that allows anyone suspected of any illegal gambling operation to file lawsuits. It is this provision that has driven two separate but related efforts by California card chambers to defeat the tribes and pass their own sports betting measures.

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California has more than 80 card rooms ranging from bar-like places with a few poker tables to elegant 270-table masts accompanied by restaurants and many A.T.M.s. Together, they employ 23,000 people in urban areas, many of them Asian, black and Hispanic, and generate $300 million a year in federal, state and local tax revenue, according to the California Gaming Association, a trade group.

Many municipal budgets rely heavily on card rooms to fund essential services and bolster juvenile justice and other programs, said Gardena Mayor Tasha Cerda, which has two card rooms. He supported an initiative that would allow sports betting at card rooms, tribal casinos and racetracks, as well as allow Internet sports betting. That initiative has raised $450,000 so far. Meanwhile, some of the biggest card rooms poured more than $24 million into a “No” campaign against the tribes’ initiative.

During a recent tour of the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood, next to SoFi Stadium, home to the Super Bowl next month and the College Football Playoff national championship in 2023, Deven Kumar, the casino’s general manager, estimated that sports betting could generate an increase in income. already affected by the coronavirus pandemic, between 20 and 25 percent. He and Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. warned that the tribes’ civil enforcement provisions could drain their existing business by as much as 75 percent, compounded by inevitable legal fees.

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“They’re trying to make the game a monopoly at the expense of everyone else,” Butts said. “They’re not the free-suffrage group they once were. Minority towns deserve an equal opportunity, too.”

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In the city of Hawaiian Gardens, where the Gardens Casino provided 68 percent of the tax revenue in the 2019-2020 city budget, Keith A. Sharp, the casino’s general counsel, said sports betting could transform Sundays at the casino, now in the mostly empty. in peak periods where customers of N.F.L. games while playing baccarat or other games.

However, if the card rooms were cluttered, Nary Chin, a longtime card dealer and single mother of four, said she fears for her future.

“I learned English in the card room, not at school,” said an emotional Chin, who emigrated from Cambodia in 1984. “I’m very grateful. This is my home. If I didn’t have this job, I don’t know what I would do.”

The third initiative comes from online bookies, including DraftKings and FanDuel, which are looking to enter California and offer online betting for the first time.

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The measure requires those companies to work with tribes, and supporters say voters could approve both their initiative and tribal staffing. Most of the state’s benefits would go to home exclusion measures and to the tribes themselves. It would also allow betting on non-sports events, such as awards shows and video game contests, but not youth sports or elections, they said.

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