California Could Legalize Sports Betting This Year

Thumbs Up and Down Icons With Sports Betting Sheet

Nearly three dozen states have legalized sports betting in recent years. However, one state that has held out so far has been California. The Golden State could change that this November. Voters in California will have a chance to legalize sports betting at the polls later this year. There is already a thriving casino industry in California.

If passed, legal sports betting in California is projected to be one of the biggest markets in the world. As the most populated state in the US, no other state would have as many potential bettors as Cali. The current proposal has significant portions of revenue going toward homelessness relief initiatives. It is projected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

Despite the project benefits of the bill, there are plenty who oppose it. Mainly, the opposition comes from the Native American tribes in California. According to tribal leaders, the bill would threaten tribal gaming interests. California tribes have started pushing for their own measure to be added to this year’s ballot.

California Will Vote on Sports Betting This November

In 2018, the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA and states were allowed to make their laws regarding sports betting. The decision ended what had been a monopoly on sports betting by the state of Nevada. Four years later, 33 states and Washington DC all now allow some form of wagering on sports.

Plenty of states jumped at the opportunity to legalize sports betting. However, the path to legal sports betting has not always been easy. Several states have taken their time to make sure they get their new gambling laws just right. Despite strong support from both in-state and national gaming interests, California falls into the latter category.

That all could change this fall. Voters in the Golden State will have a chance to legalize sports betting by voting “yes” this November. If approved, the California sports betting market is expected to be the biggest in the country. Many other states are expected to follow if sports betting is legalized in California.

Why Is California the “Holy Grail” of Sports Betting?

Part of the reason California is projected to be the biggest sports betting market is because of the population. With nearly 40 million residents, Cali is by far the most populated state in the US. The large pool of potential bettors is a big reason why California’s sports betting industry has so much potential.

Another factor behind the push to legalize sports betting in California is the growth of online betting options. It is estimated that up to 90% of sports wagers are placed online. Legal online sports betting in California would generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

California could be the most lucrative sports betting market in the US. The potential profits would be great news for state-run programs that fight homelessness. Under the current bill, taxes generated from sports betting would go toward funding homelessness solutions. Another chuck of the money would go toward funding housing programs. There would also be benefits aimed at supporting local California tribal nations.

Opposition to the California Sports Betting Bill

Proponents of the bill have tried their best to make the sports betting bill attractive to voters. However, not everyone is behind the current California sports betting bill. The biggest detractors so far the Native American tribes in the Golden State.

According to tribal officials, the current bill is a power grab that violates the 1998 California gambling law. Tribal leaders want to keep out-of-state corporations from flooding and taking over the California betting market. Other states have addressed this issue by forcing corporations to partner with existing casinos to launch their sportsbooks.

It is easy to understand why California tribal casinos would feel threatened by the proposed sports betting bill. Currently, Native American tribes control the gaming industry in the Golden State. Tribes would be able to participate in sports betting. However, it would be a fraction of their current control over the industry.

Native American tribes are not sitting by idly while voters decide on sports betting. California tribal leaders have launched their own campaigns to fight the bill. They are also pushing to have their own measure added to the November ballot.

Conclusion

The most populous US state will have a chance to legalize sports betting this November. California voters will have a chance to decide on a sports betting bill at the polls later this year. If passed, the Golden State is projected to become the biggest sports wagering market in the US.

California communities are in line to benefit greatly from the current bill. Taxes from legal sportsbooks would go toward funding housing and homelessness programs in California. Sports betting is projected to bring in roughly half a billion dollars annually, so the tax revenue would be substantial.

There is plenty of opposition to the proposed California sports betting bill. Heading the opposition are Native American tribal leaders. Concerns over who would be in control of the sports betting industry appear to be at the center of the debate. Tribal leaders are pushing to have their own sports betting measure added to the November ballots.