Gaming analysts may be getting a little ahead of themselves but they’re estimating that California could generate $30 billion a year in sports-betting handle, $2 billion in revenue and $300 million in taxes. That’d be
pretty good news for a state whose budget is reeling from Coronavirus. Trouble is, sports betting isn’t legal in the Golden State just yet and the Lege will have to act fairly swiftly if it’s to make its way onto the November ballot. PlayCA.com is pinning its hopes on a pair of Assembly and state Senate bills shepherded by state Sen. Bill Dodd (D,below) and state Rep. Adam Gray (D,pictured), a longtime warrior for gaming. Revenue would be taxed at 10%, tribal casinos and horse tracks would be entitled to both retail and online sports wagering, and taxes would be levied directly upon the platform operators, circumventing a state/tribal clash of authority.Conspicuously missing are the state’s card rooms, already staggering under the ongoing Covid-19 shutdown.
PlayCA calls the tax rate “reasonable” and we have to agree—particularly compared to Pennsylvania‘s confiscatory 36%. “California is the holy grail of sports betting markets, and not just because of its sheer size,” said analyst Dustin Gouker. “It appears that legislators are working to put in place a structure that will make
California uniquely attractive to every major operator. And because it has
the potential to be the largest legal sports betting market in the U.S., ultimately it represents a seismic shift in the industry.” He added, “The [tax] rate certainly won’t scare off sportsbook operators, who are all eager to enter California. This balanced approach should help the market ramp-up quickly once the industry launches, which is ideal considering California’s budget crunch.” While there’s no reason to expect Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to veto the legislation, especially with tax dollars in short supply, it still has to clear hurdles in both houses of the Lege, and not only are card rooms not on board, neither are all tribes.
Jottings: The rumor du jour is that Station Casinos‘ closure of Fiesta Henderson and Fiesta Rancho is a prelude to spinning them off to Boyd Gaming. The latter has the liquidity for such a deal and Station may feel it’s overexposed in the two markets where the Fiestas compete … Nine Downtown casinos are scheduled to reopen June 4. The most
notable holdout is Main Street Station. Bookings at the others are said to be strong, withVitalVegasauthor Scott Roebenreporting, “Downtown Las Vegas is much less reliant on conventions and Asian visitors than The Strip, so it’s expected downtown could recover more quickly than other destinations” … Twin River Holdings‘ two casinos in Rhode Island will reopen June 8. Admission, however, will be initially restricted to invited loyalty-program members … New Jersey regulators have postponed their yes/no vote on Eldorado Resorts‘ takeover of Caesars Entertainment, possibly running a cart and horses through Eldorado’shopes to close the deal in June. It’s all good for Caesars, which collects a penalty fee the longer the closing goes past due … Speaking of Caesars, it has bumped up the reopening of Harrah’s Las Vegas to June 5, citing “stronger than anticipated” customer demand. Who’s next, we wonder … Attorney General William Barr‘s Department of Justice is sending mixed signals to online lotteries. It’s promising them that it won’t prosecute them under the Wire Act—while continuing to pursue a court ruling that it has the power to crack down on them … British bookies can go back into business June 15, per Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It’s good to see that Johnson’s battle with Coronavirus has left him none the worse for wear.
California Lege mulls sports betting; Mega-Jottings was last modified: June 2nd, 2020 by David McKee
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