The landscape of sports in the state of California is rapidly changing as we know it. Last month, the Senate for the state of California gave their overwhelming support for the Fair Pay to Play Act. This legislature, known as SB 206, would allow college players to receive fair compensation for any revenue they’re name or likeness is used to generate.
While the bill has received plenty of political support, the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) has been furiously opposing it with any threat they can think of. Currently, the NCAA has stated that they would ban college teams from the state of California from participating in the postseason. This would make every California college ineligible to ever win a national championship.
While there’s nothing wrong with college athletes receiving compensation for revenue they absolutely were instrumental to generating, much of the NCAA’s opposition is financially motivated. Under the Fair Pay to Play Act, colleges would effectively lose out on revenue that would be redirected to players.
Rather than the current structure of directing all proceeds to a college, sponsors would now have an incentive to focus on athletes. This could create scenarios in which sponsors would severely reduce the amount a university receives, or even cut them out completely. This allows an athlete to be individually identified separately from the school, which therefore reduces the school’s value. In other words, the NCAA is unhappy about fairly compensating the players that earn them billions in revenue.
The political schedule for SB 206 has in on track to reach the Governor’s desk without much problem. Any opposition the bill is facing comes from the NCAA, which means their threat to ban California colleges is quite real. Whatever the state and NCAA ultimately decide, the bill wouldn’t even become law until 2023. This gives the NCAA plenty of time to fight the bill, or restructure the league to make any governing language completely pointless.
This gives the battle between California and the NCAA a few years of breathing room, but that doesn’t mean sports betting is going to rest in the state. Considering multiple previous attempts to legalize online betting, there’s been speculation that the state of California would propose some sort of sports betting legislature. Paired with the movement behind the Fair Pay to Play Act, California lawmakers seem to be in a great position to discuss sports betting.
This past Thursday, lawmakers in the state decided to do just that when Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray filed ACA 16. The specifics of the bill have yet to be released, but the intention of the bill is to legalize sports betting. Now that the two have submitted the bill, there is plenty of time to work out the language so that lawmakers will find it agreeable. Upon submission of the bill, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) were immediately unsupportive.
The CNIGA represents tribal casinos, many of which have gambling compacts with the state. By default, the CNIGA opposes any form of gambling expansion, indicating that it would directly harm their gambling compacts. However, this opposition is prompted by illegal activities occurring at non-tribal casinos that hurt tribal casino revenue. The CNIGA is open to discussion once commercial casinos stop their shady practices.
If lawmakers are able to find away to satisfy the CNIGA, there shouldn’t be much other opposition for the sports betting bill. Last year a bill was shot down because it would have had nearly 100 locations that offered legal sports betting. California has a policy of providing gambling in a limited capacity, meaning that any language would need to restrict this number for a bill to be successful in 2020.
While the bill is likely to see success, there are still a few key issues that lawmakers need to work out. It is clear that the state of California is perfect for legal sports betting, thanks for a large population and several sports team, both professional and collegiate. California and the NCAA might still argue for another few years, but it is possible we’ll see legal sports betting before they figure their issues out.