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By Steve Norton
CEO, Norton Management

How Much Would Tribes Contribute to State from CA Sports Betting Revenue

My comment: 

I am very much in favor of sports betting and American polls tell us that around 80% of the adult population supports it. This is far higher than the public support for casinos, racetracks or for any other form of gaming.

Many states have authorized it online along with casino games, which I strongly disagree with. The primary reasons that states want online gaming are for potential tax revenue and as a way to compete with illegal internet gaming sites. The public wants sports betting to be more convenient than just at Tribal and commercial casinos and racetracks.

But proper state or federal oversight could take criminal action against overseas sites, now available on smartphones and computers nationwide, also giving easy access to minors, with a parent’s credit card or bank info.

To discourage the use of illegal online gaming, states could impose a small fine for any resident that plays the illegal games.

But the public wants access, and that requires more convenient locations than some parts of California which might be 100 miles from one of the state’s tribal casinos or racetracks.

In these cases, I believe a possible solution would be to allow CA tribes to establish betting shops (off reservation) like in the United Kingdom, serving food and beverage, to adults only, and providing a much superior viewing experience with multiple video walls, booths (with sound), and also able to offer games that aren't available in that market.

These sports parlors would be able to handle the hundreds of in-game and proposition bets that are available on many team sports, which could not be accommodated at state lottery outlets, and would be difficult online.

These could be very limited, not like Illinois, where 7,000 businesses that have a liquor license offer over 30,000 Video Gaming Terminals. In order to also get patrons to visit a tribal casino, it might be necessary to go there to sign up for sports betting, deposit funds into an account or collect winnings.

But I would recommend to the tribes and racetracks to oppose any attempt by the state to offer online gaming or online sports betting or to place sports betting at the thousands of lottery sales outlets.

As a final position, you might agree to the state allowing parlay bets or wagers on game outcomes only at the lottery stores, therefore leaving in-game and proposition bets to tribal casinos and racetracks plus sports parlors, if allowed.