California Sports Betting

California is a state that would have a major windfall if sports betting were to be legalized. However, as of June 2019 sports betting is not legal in the Golden State. There has been major opposition from the tribal casinos in the state, as there are 66 of them, and that has been the major hurdle in getting sports betting legalized in the Golden State.

This is even though in May of 2018 the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court and this allowed for legal sports betting in America, but on a state by state basis. While there have been several states that have legalized sports betting in 2019 California was not one of them.

There was recent introduced legislation to legalize sports betting in California and while that is a positive and it will be legal in the future there is still much to be discussed on how the money will be divided and that is a major issue with the billions of dollars at stake.

California Sports Betting at a Glance

There is currently no legal sports betting in the state of California as of June 2019. There was not even much talk in the state government about the issue with all of the tribal opposition, but recent legislation introduced in terms of legalizing sports betting is a step in the right direction in terms of betting on sports in the Golden State.

California Teams

In terms of professional and college teams in California there are a ton of them. Just in terms of the four major leagues of the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB there are 16 teams in California, but it will be 15 next year when the Oakland Raiders relocate to Las Vegas, Nevada. There are also three franchises in Major League soccer as well as many minor league baseball teams, NBA G-League teams, and minor league hockey teams to name a few. In terms of college sports programs there are 25 Division 1 teams in California with some of the biggest football and basketball programs in the nation such as USC, UCLA, Stanford, and California, who are all in the Pac 12.

Status of Sports Betting in California

Sports betting is not legal in the state of California as of June 2019. The main issue is a common one, in terms of sports betting being legalized, in that sports betting is being opposed by the 66 tribal casinos in the state that are run by 60 tribes.

The tribes are under the belief that sports betting being legal would take away from their land-based casino revenue, which is in excess of $8 billion dollars a year. The one fact they are most opposed to is that the mobile gaming, which would take most of the sports bets in the state, and they think that will keep people from visiting their casino, as they could also wager on casino games through mobile apps. New Jersey reported that they had 80% of their sports wagered taken through mobile applications in the first year where sports betting was legal in the state.

The money issue is a big one in California and that is not surprising for such a populous state. There was a projection from the research firm of firm Eilers & Krejcik Gaming that sports betting being legal in California could generate over $2 billion dollars a year in taxable revenue.

There would have to be an agreement between the tribal casinos and the California state government to how the money would be divided. However, in 2016 a ruling on the federal level threw out revenue sharing agreements and because of that the state of California went from getting $330 million in gaming revenue in 2016 before the ruling was thrown out while in the last few years, they have only received a few million in gaming revenues.

In late June of 2019 California Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced legislation ACA 16 that deals with the legalization of sports betting in the state through a series of informational hearings. Gray told ESPN that, “The goal is to get something on the 2020 November ballot.”

Where to Bet Sports in California

As stated before with sports betting not currently being legal in the state of California there are no places to lay legal sports bets. However, if the law changes in the state, and it will it is just a matter of when, then there will be many places to place sports wagers.

There are 66 casinos in the state and it is very likely that they would have sportsbooks there with the money that they would get from sports betting. There are also many racetracks and pari-mutual betting areas in the Golden State where sports betting would likely be legal as well. And, again, as stated before there would be a mobile application where people could place sports bets.

Latest California Sports Betting News

Gray Introduces Legislation to Further the Legalization of Sports Betting

California Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced legislation ACA 16 in late June of 2019 to further the issue of legalizing sports betting. The legislation calls for several informational hearings with the state senate and the main goal would be to get a bill that could be voted on for legal sports betting on the 2020 November ballot.

Gray visited several of the major professional sport franchises in California, such as the L.A. Clippers of the NBA and the L.A. Rams of the NFL, and he is under the belief that the movement is growing in the state to legalize sports betting, as more and more states have done it. Gray went on to tell ESPN, “My hope would be that we can find a landing spot for sports wagering, where it could enhance all of those institutions, as well as provide revenue and a regulated market for consumers.”

Sports Betting Proposal Gets Zero Signatures

In 2019 there was a proposed initiative to have sports betting be legal in California, but it needed over 620,000 signatures to get on the ballot. The initiative received exactly zero signatures, as it never got past draft status and was never taken to the public. With the draft being the furthest the initiative got it obviously did not move forward and it did not make the deadline of April 2019 where new bills had to be introduced by in order to be on the next ballot. Russell Lowery, who is a consultant for Californians for Sports Betting, stated, “We never advanced to get a single signature. It started a conversation in California gaming on what is the right path forward, and those conversations will continue until they figure out the puzzle.”

Tribes Using Political Clout to Keep Sports Betting out of California

The main hurdle in getting sports betting legal in California is that the tribal casinos are in opposition of it. They have used their political power not only to quash any sports betting legislation, but also any form of gambling expansion in the state. The tribes do not want to share their gaming revenue with any other players and that also includes the card rooms and racetracks in California. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association are in total opposition of expanded gambling in the state and that includes sports betting. They have spent millions of dollars to keep things as they are in terms of gambling in the state. The tribes that run casinos in California have compacts with the state government and do not want to reopen their agreements for any type of gambling expansion.

California Sports Teams That Drive Betting

There is no lack of sports teams in California, as they have the most major professional teams in the United States with 16 in the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. Los Angeles alone has eight sports teams in the aforementioned leagues and the San Francisco Bay Area has six. There are also 25 Division 1 colleges that have sports programs with many of them having big-time basketball programs and a few with some premier football programs

Click here to read more about Los Angeles sports betting.

There are four NFL teams in California in the L.A. Rams, L.A. Chargers, San Francisco, 49ers, and Oakland Raiders. The Raiders will be moving to Las Vegas, Nevada in the 2020 season. The 49ers are one of the premier teams in the league with five Super Bowl titles. L.A. went over a decade with an NFL franchise before the Rams and Chargers recently relocated there.

In California there are five MLB franchises in the Anaheim Angels, L.A. Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, and the San Diego Padres. The Padres are the only one that have not won a World Series while the other four teams have combined for 13 titles.

In the NBA there are four teams from the Golden State in the Golden State Warriors, L.A. Lakers, Sacramento Kings, and L.A. Clippers. The Kings and Clippers have never won an NBA title, the Lakers have the 2ndmost of all time (11), and the Warriors won three of their four titles  from 2015 to 2018.

In California there are three NHL franchises in the L.A. Kings, Anaheim Ducks, and San Jose Sharks. The Kings have two Stanley Cup titles with the Ducks having one and the Sharks have not won any. The Kings have been in the league since 1967 with the Sharks and Ducks being granted expansion franchises in 1991 and 1993 respectively.

The college sports scene is big in California with all of the D1 programs. The bigger football programs are from the Pac 12 in USC, UCLA, California, and Stanford. There are also a lot of big basketball programs, again mainly from the Pac 12 and UCLA has won the most NCAA titles of all time under legendary head coach John Wooden.

There are also three MLS teams in California in the L.A. Galaxy and San Jose Earthquakes and the newly added Los Angeles FC. In terms of minor league baseball teams there are many in the state and as well as quite a few semi-pro teams from several sports.

California Legal Status

  • Casino Legal Status – Casinos are legal in the state of California with 60 Native American tribes operating the 60 casinos in the state.
  • Sports Betting Legal Status – Sports betting is not legal as of June 2019.
  • Horse Racing Legal Status – Horse racing is legal in California with some of the bigger tacks in the nation and off-track betting is also legal.
  • Poker Legal Status – Poker is legal in the state at the casinos and poker rooms.
  • DFS Legal Status – Fantasy sports is not legal in the state of California as of June 2019.
  • Lottery Legal Status – There is a California state lottery.

California Sports Betting Timeline

  • 2019 – California Assemblyman Adam Gray introduced legislation ACA 16 that deals with the legalization of sports betting
  • 2018 – Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned
  • 2016 – Revenue sharing agreements between Native America tribes and California thrown out in federal court.
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