Since 2018, sports betting has been being legalized across the United States. At this point, the majority of the 50 states have legalized sports betting in some form — either in person, online or both.
California has been surprising slow to get on board with legalizing sports betting. You would think that as one of the most populous states in the country with professional sports teams from all the major leagues that they would have been at the forefront. There is so much potential revenue on the table that delaying any longer, especially during this economy, just doesn’t make any sense.
Here is all you need to know about the current status of sports betting in California and how that could change soon.
Is sports betting legal in California?
Currently, sports betting is illegal in California. There are no legal sportsbooks operating. This could all change soon.
When will betting be legal in California?
If one of the betting measures on the ballot passes in November, betting on sports will become legal soon after. This could happen immediately if all the necessary paperwork is in place before the vote happens. It is more likely that it will take several months before agreements with sportsbooks are finalized and their apps are opened to the public.
The November 2022 ballot to legalize sports betting in California
While voting for government officials is what most people pay attention to in the run up to election season, local and state ballot initiatives are where a lot of important changes are made. After years of no action on the sports betting front, there may be two betting initiatives on the ballot this November.
The first is Proposition 26, called the “California Sports Wagering Regulation and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act”. This will make sports betting legal in-person on tribal lands and on horse racing tracks. It has the support of the Native American tribes in California and those concerned with creating local jobs.
The second has not yet been cleared to be placed on the ballot since the collected signatures need to be examined and processed. This proposition would allow online sports betting in certain circumstances. The revenue would be taxed, and those funds would be used to address the homelessness crisis. This proposition is supported by the major sportsbooks.
Supporters and opponents of the 2022 ballot for legal sports betting in California
As with everything in politics, there are people on both sides of the issue. Since sports betting and all kinds of gambling can be quite contentious, there has been a fair amount of debate over this upcoming bill.
Supporters of Prop 26 include Native American tribes and those who prefer to progress towards online sports betting more slowly. These same tribes are actually opposed to the rival proposition. Splitting the vote in this manner is dangerous and could mean that neither bill passes.
Other opponents to sports betting legislation include some members of law enforcement. There are worries that online sports betting would be too accessible and appealing, luring in children and teenagers. These fears are addressed by having tight identity verification controls in place.
Previous sports betting bills in California
In 2018, Adam Gray introduced a bill called ACA18, but it didn’t get very far. A few months later, a petition was filed to have sports betting on the ballot. It was hoped that it would be on the 2020 ballot and was tentatively called the Gaming Fairness and Accountability Act. Again, it was unable to make it onto the ballot.
The best California sportsbooks
Of course, no sportsbooks are currently operating in California, however some of the biggest names in the industry have expressed an interest in the Californian market.
One of the top international sportsbooks that is sure to have big role in the California betting scene is bet365. Bet365 is a major player in the iGaming industry. Its decades of experience in Europe are evident in the functionality of their site and their responsive customer service.
Two of the top sportsbooks that got their start in Fantasy Football have also expressed an interest in California. These are FanDuel and DraftKings. These may be younger brands, but they have rapidly made names for themselves and are trusted sportsbooks.
BetMGM and WynnBET, the sportsbooks of two of the major casino brands, are also trying to make it into the California market. BetMGM and WynnBET have used their extensive experience in the casino industry to make their sportsbooks competitive.