California, Texas and Florida are three of the biggest sports betting markets in the country but there is not a lot of progress being made towards legalization, much to the disappointment of betting operators.
The three states are home to a number of top teams participating in America’s major sporting leagues, and have been faring well when it comes to entering the championship series. These three states are also the most populous states, holding over 25% of the US population. Sara Slane, a spokeswoman for the American Gaming Association called these states the brass rings for the sports betting market.
Legalization Efforts Almost Nil Across Three States
A review of sports gambling legislation carried out by The Associated Press across all 50 states found that legalization efforts are absent and highly unlikely to happen anytime soon in America’s three largest states.
What makes it nearly impossible for these states to legalize sports betting? Despite the Supreme Court lifting the federal ban on sports gambling, these three states are refusing to legalize sports betting and join the ranks of sports betting states like New Jersey, New Mexico and Delaware. The reasons stem from both politics and culture.
It is a known fact that California and Florida’s casino industry is dominated by powerful tribal interests. These influential entities are making it hard for both states to reach agreements on any gambling expansion. Allowing other players to enter the gambling market is not a very good idea in terms of their business interests.
Meanwhile in Texas, out-of-state casino interests have proven time and again that they can influence the state’s political decisions. Add to that the moral stance of social conservatives who, for a long time, have been expressing staunch criticism against gambling. With an environment like this, it will be hard for the prospect of legalized sports betting to actually succeed.
In each of the states, legalizing sports gambling or introducing any gambling expansion would require a constitutional change, which is a tough hurdle to overcome. The dynamic at work is explained by Chris Grove, managing director of gambling research firm Eilers and Krejcik. Grove said the three states’ stakeholder affairs are more complex given the size of the market it offers. This also paves the way for more political stasis to set in.
California
The state of California alone makes up one-eighth of the nation’s population. It is home to 17 teams among the four major professional leagues but there are no signs of sports betting legalization now or anytime in the near future.
Here’s why: There is an existing compact between the state and tribes that operate casinos within the territory. These tribes are part of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), a body dedicated to protect the sovereign right of Indian tribes to run gambling on their lands.
CNIGA is strongly against the expansion of gambling despite the fact that it would generate more traffic to the tribe-operated casinos. The group has expressed its opposition against the growing number of card rooms in the state and dismissed the prospect of any sports betting debate as it will only open the doors for more competition against the tribes.
Florida
In Florida, sports betting legalization would require voter approval. In 2018, the Seminole Tribe, which operates seven of the state’s eight tribal casinos, was successful in convincing voters to go against gambling expansion. The measure was also backed by Disney’s Orlando Resort, a key economic force in the state.
While the legalization of sports betting could push through without voter approval, State Senate President Bill Galvano said he might ask for it anyway, adding that broader gambling legislation is currently in the works to allow wagering at tribal casinos, racetracks and sports venues.
Texas
Since 2004, the state of Texas has hosted three Super Bowls, six NCAA men’s Final Four and three NBA All-Star basketball tournaments. The state also has eight teams competing in the country’s four major sports leagues. Despite this, the state is reluctant to embrace sports betting.
Social conservatives in the state, believe gambling is a regressive tax on the poor. Any gambling expansion is also opposed by the official Texas Republican Party. The state’s legislature is dominated by Republicans. Casino operators in neighboring Oklahoma and Louisiana have been pouring in huge amounts of money to Texas politicians. These casino giants are the greatest beneficiaries of the current gambling status quo in the state.

TightPoker Staff

TightPoker Staff

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