California Sports Betting Laws

There is no legal sports betting in California. But, with 40 million people, another 40+ million annual tourists and more professional sports teams than any other state, California would be a gold rush for legal sports betting apps in the US.

Feb 12, 2022 | By Joseph Low
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Image: Noah Silliman/Unsplash

There is no legal sports betting in California. But, with 40 million people, another 40+ million annual tourists and more professional sports teams than any other state, California would be a gold rush for legal sports betting apps in the US.

Multiple attempts are ongoing to legalise sports betting in California. A proposed tribal initiative would allow retail betting at land-based Indian casinos and horse racing tracks. A legislative effort would also authorise online betting through platforms affiliated with the tribal casinos and racetracks. One of those ballot measures — sponsored by the tribes — is being challenged in courts as of December 2021 because it addresses more than one gaming issue.

Any California sports betting efforts have until June 25 to qualify for the ballot, with up to four ballot measures currently possible. The legalisation of sports betting in California requires a constitutional amendment approved by voters. Read on for all the latest updates, news, and progress regarding CA sports betting.

29th of December, 2021— Two California card rooms have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to halt one of the several proposed sports betting schemes for 2022.

Four prominent California mayors have come out in favour of a ballot measure that would allow Californians to vote on whether or not to allow online sports betting. It is viewed as a solution to the state’s homelessness crisis by mayors in Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, and Sacramento.

The chances of one of the three sports betting propositions making it onto the November 2022 ballot are extremely slim. To be considered for a vote, the California Sports Wagering and Consumer Protection Act needs to garner 997,139 signatures before April 2022.

In 2022, Californians will be able to vote on whether or not tribal casinos should be allowed to provide sports betting. According to Secretary of State Shirley N. Weber, tribes in California will be able to provide roulette, craps, and sports betting on-site as part of a ballot initiative in November 2022. However, there is no mention of online sports betting in the proposal. A decade may be a long time to wait for internet sports betting in California, according to both the state’s Indian tribes, and outside analysts.

The New York Times drew national attention to the battle over betting on sports in the California jurisdiction on January 18, 2022, noting that various parties were prepared to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to win.

The state of California sports betting law.

Sports betting is currently illegal in the state of California. However, there are four separate ballot initiatives that have either been approved for inclusion on the November 2022 ballot or are striving to meet the necessary signature requirements to be included.

The current state of sports betting in San Francisco, California

Image: Richard Boyle/Unsplash

The November 2022 election is the only way to legalise betting on sports in Golden State, and It’s up to the voters in California to decide what kind of sports betting they want, if they want it at all, regardless of what the various stakeholders in the Golden State think or want. Groups are currently attempting to put out four different sports betting proposals for consideration by the public in 2022. Right now, just one of them will be on the ballot.

The tribal measure has already been scheduled for November 2022. Tribal casinos and horse races around the state would be able to offer sports betting under the idea. On the surface, the idea is reasonable. There are dozens of reservation-based sites and several large race facilities in California.

However, there are a few aspects of the proposal that may not be perfect for those who advocate for an open sports betting market… Online sports betting is not permitted under the new legislation. At least five years, according to text in the bill, and tribe representatives have argued that the ideal time limit may be twice as long. For the sake of fairness, the organisation does not want to harm the tribes that would be kept out of the sports betting market if they insist on a retail-only environment.

As a result of California’s vast geographic area, the delay would almost certainly limit the market’s growth potential. Tribal governments in the state, on the other hand, have made it clear that preserving and maintaining their monopoly on gambling is a high priority. The tribes have constantly and unerringly claimed that the card rooms around the state are illegitimate enterprises and in violation of the tribes’ compacts, so it’s no surprise that the initiative excludes them from eligibility (with mixed success in court).

All sports betting revenue would be taxed at a 10 per cent rate under the new proposal. Wagering on home-state college teams like UCLA and USC would be illegal.

That proposal is now on the ballot and the tribes have been paying attention to the writing on the wall, which is a good thing. It has so been proposed to the state that they should also be able to offer online sports betting. Although only the tribes and racetracks have the legal authority to allow mobile sports wagering, it’s safe to assume that the public’s response has compelled these entities to act. The state attorney general’s office must approve the title and summary of this second initiative before the tribes may begin gathering petition signatures to put this new proposal on the ballot.

The sportsbook initiative

Additionally, a plan that would greatly benefit Native American tribes is currently being circulated for signatures on a petition drive. A partnership of seven leading online betting providers spearheaded the application, not the tribes. Essentially, the initiative would create an online-only market for sports betting in California, which would be reserved for the tribes and a few select businesses, according to the language of the bill.

As a first step, only the tribes or operators can offer sportsbook apps in the state, and they must be partnered with one of the tribes. Professional sports teams, card rooms, and racetracks are all on the outside looking in. The first licence costs US$100 million, and operators must renew it every five years for an additional US$10 million.

If a tribe wanted to, they could develop their own branded apps. To begin with, they would need to pay US$10 million for the licence, which would be renewed for US$1 million. A ten percent tax would be applied to all sports betting income, regardless of where it came from. California has considerably more tribes than qualifying operators, as previously stated. This means that all non-participating tribes would receive 15 per cent of the tax revenue from sports betting in order to be fair. The remaining 85 per cent of the money would be used to help the state’s homeless population. California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act is thus a name for the legislation itself.

Law mandates that at least a quarter of the signatures needed for an initiative to pass must be collected before November 20, 2021. The coalition, on the other hand, has committed to spending US$100 million on the campaign.

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