California is commonly known as the “Sports State” due to the extremely passionate fan base across all teams and leagues. On October 6, 2018, the Sports Association of California (SAC) submitted a proposal to legalize sports betting to the California State Legislature. If passed, the measure would allow for the establishment of sportsbooks and casinos in the state. It would also require those groups to be licensed by the state, while also mandating they adhere to sports betting laws. Finally, the proposal suggests taxing games played at a licensed facility, with the revenues going to fund sports programs in schools and community colleges.
Currently, the only legal form of wagering in California is on horse racing, as the state does not permit gambling on sports other than its own. But with the legalization of sports betting, that will all change. California has a long history of being at the forefront of sports legislation, and if this proposal is any indication, they are not planning on stopping anytime soon.
It’s been a long time coming. When the United States Supreme Court overturned PASPA [Pennsylvania Sports Betting Act of 2014] in 2018, it marked the eventual end of America’s ‘black-out’ period regarding sports betting. Since 1992, the federal government has been unable to regulate sports betting across the country. Prior to PASPA, many states had passed their own laws allowing for specific games to be bet on, but prohibiting any other form of wagering. As a result of PASPA and the SCOTUS decision, each state is now free to legalize and regulate sports betting, as long as they comply with the law.
What Should We Expect?
With the end of the ‘black-out’ period, more and more states are expected to follow California’s lead and pass their own legislation. As of January 2019, 20 states had enacted some form of legalized sports betting, with 16 other states having introduced bills to do so. The momentum is clearly in favor of legalizing sports betting, and with the support of the NCAA and NBA, there’s no doubt that the practice will soon be commonplace throughout the United States.
California’s proposed legislation would allow for: