events | 28 June 2021

The Complexity Surrounding the Potential for California Sports Betting

California has 109 federally recognized tribal governments within its borders with 69 operating casinos. The best estimates of the gross gaming revenue of these tribal casinos is just short of $10 billion.

California is the largest state in the United States with a population nearing 40 million people. It also generates the 5th largest gross domestic product in the world, larger than that of the United Kingdom or India. The state generates more than 200 million tourists annually, is roughly 25% larger in population than the second largest US state and has more students in its colleges and universities than Nevada has people. It is also the largest gaming state in the United States as measured in gross gaming revenue across all gaming verticals.

California has 109 federally recognized tribal governments within its borders with 69 operating casinos. The best estimates of the gross gaming revenue of these tribal casinos is just short of $10 billion.

In general, laws are developed in the legislature of the state of California and signed into law by the governor. There is a process, however, where the people of the state can sidestep the involvement of the governor and the legislature through an initiative process. In essence, this is a process where a group of people can collect qualified petition signatures from the people in the state to have a proposal decided at an election by the qualified voters of the state.
This process was started by a group comprised of 18 tribal governments in California to secure a vote on a sports betting bill. This initiative has qualified to be put to a vote in the state in November 2022. The technical name of this proposal is California Initiative 19-0029 and is titled: “California Sports Wagering Regulation and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act.”

Clearly, when it comes to attractive states for operators to enter with respect to sports betting, California is the crown jewels. It is important to understand, however, that California is a state of incredible complexity with respect to gaming in general and tribal gaming in particular. Moreover, tribal gaming is a world unto itself and the political scene in California is not for the faint of heart.

This teaching session is designed to provide insight into the complex world of tribal & commercial gaming in California, to appreciate the complicated and often tense relationships between the different gaming segments within the state, and the curious regulatory and political environment that one finds there. It will provide an excellent opportunity to understand the reality of what is anticipated for one of the more contested US markets for sports betting and the session is presented by an individual who has worked closely within the regulatory and governmental environment of the state.

Course Outline:

  • Introduction to the instructor and the course.
  • Tribal gaming in California
    • Legal events within the US and state
      • Cabazon
      • Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
      • Propositions 1A and 5
  • Gaming verticals in California
    • Horseracing
    • Card rooms
    • Lottery
    • Charitable
  • Regulatory environment
    • NIGC
    • Tribal Commission
    • State regulators
      • California Gambling Control Commission
      • Bureau of Gambling Control
      • California Horse Racing Board
      • California Lottery Commission
  • The iPoker & iGaming Movement
  • Political tensions between tribes, card rooms and horseracing
  • Legislative efforts to allow sports betting in California
    • The Government Organization Committees
    • The three Ls
  • California Initiative 19-0029
    • Sponsors
    • Bill details
    • Lobbying efforts for and against
  • Concluding remarks

Target Audience:

The target audience for this session are those individuals within the global sports betting and gaming ecosystem that desire to enhance their understanding of the potential legalization of sports betting (and possibly more) in California, the largest state in the United States. Of importance, an effort will be made to clearly delineate the differences of tribal vs commercial gaming, the regulatory environment of the state, and the political challenges that may await the prospective investor or market entrant. Moreover, this presentation will be made by an individual who has served as a gambling commissioner within the state, as well as a consultant to the California governor’s office and the state legislature.

Learning Outcomes:

Business decisions are predicated upon an analysis of risk. The size and complexity of California makes it imperative that all interested observers and participants in the future gaming space of the state need to understand the reality on the ground. This session will add insight for all attending into the tribal, industrial, political, and related challenges surrounding the introduction of sports wagering into California and allow for a more refined and complete analysis of the risk associated with the market.

Date: 13/07/2021

Time: 10:00 – 13:00 CEST (including 15 minutes break)

Venue: Virtual option or In-person option – Malta (Europe). Please select your preference here.*

* In view of the evolving nature of COVID-19 situation, the venue will be communicated closer to the event. Although every effort will be made to hold the event in-person by abiding to the requirments of the Maltese health authorities, we may have to shift the event to a completely virtual format, should the instructions from health authorities prohibit us from holding live training sessions on the indicated date.

Fee: €180**

** A discount of 10% is provided for bookings of 2 or more. Contact to learn more. 

CPE Hours: This course qualifies for 3 hours of structured CPE which can be classified as Professional Competency. A certificate of attendance will be provided at the end of the session.


Richard Schuetz

Richard Schuetz

Mr. Schuetz entered the casino business dealing cards and dice at nights while in college. He has worked in jurisdictions across the US, rising to the position of president and CEO of a Las Vegas casino company. In Las Vegas, Mr. Schuetz was also the executive responsible for the Stardust Race and Sports book, then the largest book in the US. During his casino tenure, he also was a founding member of the Grand Casinos, Inc. team that was one of the early leaders in the US tribal gaming space.

Mr. Schuetz has also served as a gaming commissioner in California and executive director of the gaming regulator in the country of Bermuda. During his time in California, he was also the consultant in iGaming and sports betting matters for the California governor’s office as well as to the senate committee that was responsible for gaming matters.

Mr. Schuetz sat on the International Advisory Board for the Institute for the Study of Gambling & Commercial Gaming at the University of Nevada, Reno, and was the Co-moderator of the Institute’s Executive Development Program. He sits on the advisory board of the National Council of Problem Gambling and holds a like position with All-In Diversity. He was named an Honorary Professor of Casino Marketing at the Baron N. Hilton School of Hotel Administration at the University of Houston; was the marketing columnist for Casino Executive Magazine; and has taught Casino Management & Regulation at the Ecole Hoteliere Lausanne in Switzerland, and at the University of Macau and Macau Polytechnic Institute in Macau, SAR China. He has lectured throughout the world on the topics of gaming, gaming regulation, and casino marketing, and has published more than 100 articles on these topics.

Cooperation Partners
  • Malta Association of Credit Management
  • Malta Employers' Associations