PlayUSA Rewind: California Tribes Aim For 2022 Ballot To Legalize Sports Betting

Written By Grant Lucas on July 8, 2020 - Last Updated on February 19, 2021

Another calendar month involving the coronavirus pandemic has been cast to the side.

However, states have begun reopening plans. Businesses are welcoming back customers. Many casinos have opened back up.

What’s more, major sports are ready to return.

By the end of the month, if all goes according to plan, the NBANHL and MLB will all be back in action. As a result, legalized sports betting will no doubt see a major uptick in business.

On to the Rewind:

Tribes get extension for California sports betting initiative

State-backed legislation to legalize sports betting in California may have petered out, but the drive to bring regulated wagering to the Golden State perseveres.

The California Sports Wagering Regulation and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act, as the tribal initiative is called, received an extension from the California Superior Court to potentially allow the measure to reach the 2022 ballot.

To make the 2020 election, the initiative needed to meet a June 25 deadline. But the tribal coalition successfully argued that social-distancing orders surrounding the coronavirus pandemic justified an extension. Apparently Judge James P. Arguelles agreed, and he set an Oct. 12 deadline for the coalition to amass enough signatures.

The initiative would legalize sports betting at tribal casinos and existing horse racetracks. To earn a constitutional amendment to legalize wagering, the coalition needs to reach a minimum of 997,139 signatures — although, as Legal Sports Report detailed, to ensure valid signatures, aiming for nearly 1.5 million would do the trick.

Through mid-March, as tribes noted, some 971,373 signatures were obtained. While in a decent position to reach their mark, tribes face an uphill battle. As they indicated, since restarting petition circulation following the state’s reopening plan, tribes are gathering signatures at 10% of their previous rate.

Still, hope remains for legalized sports betting in California.

Landmark deal pairs PointsBet with Tigers

The Detroit Tigers made history recently, bringing on PointsBet as its official gaming partner and thus creating the first deal of its kind in Major League Baseball.

Under the multiyear agreement, the Tigers will feature in-stadium PointsBet signage visible on television, including on Comerica Park’s primary scoreboard and along the right-field wall.

In addition, the PointsBet brand will become visible on the Tigers’ digital platforms as well as the District Detroit and MLB Ballpark apps.

PointsBet already has access to the Michigan sports betting market, pairing with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, which allowed the operator to set up a retail sportsbook at the Northern Waters Casino. That deal also allowed PointsBet to begin plans to introduce a mobile wagering option.

While theScore became an authorized gaming partner of MLB at the end of June, PointsBet is the first to land a team-specific deal. In doing so, and including its partnership with theScore, MLB finally joins the likes of the NBANFL and NHL as professional leagues with franchises that boast sportsbook sponsors.

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DraftKings gets foot in the Illinois sports betting door

The Illinois online sports betting landscape remains young, but DraftKings appears ready to make its entrance.

The rising legal wagering power landed market access by partnering with Casino Queen in East St. Louis.

While a timeline for a DraftKings debut in Illinois has not been confirmed, the operator expects to undergo regulatory testing over the next few weeks. Then a DraftKings introduction will be imminent.

Though DraftKings is not active, online or retail (it will operate a brick-and-mortar sportsbook as well), an executive order from Gov. J.B. Pritzker allows Illinois residents to sign up ahead of time.

Casino Queen stands as one of seven casinos in the Land of Lincoln that have been issued four-year master licenses to offer legal sports betting.

For now, though, only BetRivers has rolled out an online sportsbook in Illinois, launching its product in June.

Soon, however, there will be more competition. And DraftKings will be among them.

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Grant Lucas

Grant Lucas is a longtime sports writer who has covered the high school, collegiate and professional levels. A graduate of Linfield College in McMinnville, Grant has covered games and written features and columns surrounding prep sports, Linfield and Oregon State athletics, the Portland Trail Blazers and golf throughout his career.

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