Connect with us


When Californian legislation goes through, which sportsbooks will compete for the throne?



With many US states legalizing sports betting in recent years, attention is naturally turning to the Golden State. California is well-known as a cultural phenomenon, with Silicon Valley at the center of worldwide computer and technological innovation. Yet, many find it behind the times regarding its betting rules and laws. In this article, we’ll tell you all about the current situation in California and what the gambling sphere could look like in the future.

Currently, sports betting is not legal in California. This means that Californians won’t yet be indulging in sportsbooks that are available in other states, such as BetMGM’s sports betting site. Last November, Californians voted in great numbers against two propositions, Prop 26 and Prop 27.

Proposition 26 would have meant in-person gambling would be allowed at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, and would have paved the way for new, Vegas-style gambling games. Proposition 27, on the other hand, would have meant online sports betting was legalized, with big sportsbook companies being allowed, as well as those operated by Native American tribes in California.

However, 67% of people voted not to allow sports wagering on tribal lands, and 83% voted to disallow online sports wagering outside of tribal lands.

In 2023, several legislators have tried to get legislation through. However, there has been opposition from lobby groups as well as local tribes. As such, we’re unlikely to see any changes this calendar year.

Despite there being a lot of opposition to the legalization of sports betting in California, many hope that it will eventually be allowed, as it is in other US states.

Currently, you can take part in some gambling activities. This includes the California State Lottery, which began in 1985, casino gambling at tribal casinos, bingo and raffle games, horse race betting and licensed card room games. Any commercial casino gambling is not allowed.

Are online sportsbooks coming to California?

If – or when – sports betting is legalized in California, it’s likely to be in the form of online sportsbooks and in-person sports betting at tribal casinos. This is similar to states such as Kentucky and Ohio, which have just been given the go-ahead to open up betting platforms.

When sportsbooks do arrive in California, it remains to be seen whether the state government will go for a strict approach or a more relaxed one. So far, proponents have filed to launch proposed measures for a ballot in November 2024. This would allow Californians to engage in both online and on-site sports betting.

If California does legalize sports betting, it’s set to be the largest market in the whole of the United States.

Latest California sports betting news

As things stand, it is impossible to legalize sports betting in California without the support of the native tribes. New proposals were submitted to the Attorney General’s office in October 2023, which would give tribes the exclusivity of in-person and online sports betting.

However, these were seemingly filed without state tribe blessings, just like the failed Prop 27 last year. The proponents of the initiatives are Reeve Collins and Kasey Thompson, who are the co-founders of Pala Interactive, an online gaming technology company.

These two initiatives have only around four months to gather signatures to get on the ballot before the election on November 5 next year.

The proposals state that sports betting would start from September 1, 2025 at the earliest and that it would follow a hub-and-spoke model. Any betting operations would use the tribe brand exclusively, as recognized by the federal government, and co-branding with operators wouldn’t be allowed. What’s more, any contracted party would not be able to receive more than 40% of the net revenues. In terms of ages, the legal age would be 21 and it would also be possible to bet on college and professional-level sports.

Past failed initiatives

There has been a lot of discussion about sports betting in California, for years. Once the decision was made to allow for the legalization of sports betting in the US back in 2018, conversations had already started to happen. Even before 2022’s proposals failed, there were a few others.

In 2017, ACA – 18 was proposed. This was an attempt to amend Section 19 of the Constitution of the State of California relating to gaming, but it was not accepted or adopted.

In 2019, another proposal was submitted in an attempt to amend Section 19 of Article IV. This was ACA-16 and it proposed a change to authorize and provide for the regulation of sports wagering. However, this was also not adopted.

A year later in 2020, SCA-6 was proposed. This requested a change that would authorize regulated and taxed sports wagering, including mobile and online sports wagering. The proposal suggested these would be operated by federally recognized Indian tribes and horse race tracks.

It also incorporated the allowance of onsite card games in licensed establishments. This was to be called the California Sports Wagering and Consumer Protection Act. The proposal made reference to illegal operators and how they were profiting from consumers in California, which was heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. This proposal was also rejected.

Why is sports betting so complicated in California?

Given that California has a large population, many people believe that sports betting would be good for the state as it would bring in a lot of revenue. However, there are existing groups in California that declare an interest in sports betting but disagree on some aspects, which causes problems.

In California, there are hundreds of Native tribes that are officially recognized. They operate and own all of California’s casinos. They do not agree with the expansion of gambling within California, despite the fact that they would probably benefit from it. Their fears are that expanding things might end their control over gambling.

Native tribes in California already have an issue with the card rooms in the state. These include large poker venues like Bicycle Casino, which has 185 card tables, making it the largest in the world. You’ll also find 50 card tables at Hustler Casino and 150 at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. Californian tribes, however, don’t agree with the legality of these card rooms and many deny that they’re legal at all.

Another complication to add is the horse racing tracks currently operating in California. There are some famous racetracks in the state. These include Santa Anita Park with its gorgeous backdrop, Del Mar Racetrack on the costs of the Pacific Ocean and Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress.

Although there are no conflicts between the tribes and the race tracks, it’s likely that any change to legislation will involve the tracks, which might cause problems between the race tracks and tribes, depending on whose side the operators of the race tracks will take.

Which sportsbooks will compete for the throne?

Although things are up in the air at present, if online sports betting does become legal in California, big sportsbooks will no doubt become interested. This means we’re likely to see the likes of BetMGM Sports, Caesars Sportsbook, FanDuel and DraftKings trying to get in on the action.

BetMGM Sports is considered to be one of the best sportsbooks overall. When European company Entain joined forces with MGM Resorts International, the resulting sportsbook was outstanding. Most online sports bettors rate BetMGM highly as a sportsbook, and the brand itself has been lobbying for legalized sports betting in states where it isn’t yet allowed.

You’ll already find BetMGM in Washington D.C., Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland, Louisiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming and Virginia.

Caesars Sportsbook is another contender. This is one of the most famous, if not the most famous, sportsbook brand in America. The sportsbook is loved in other states where betting is already legalized, and it offers a range of promotions and bonuses as well as a wide variety of sports to bet on. Since Caesars Entertainment acquired William Hill for $3.7bn in 2021, Caesars Sportsbook has grown hugely. It’s now available in Colorado, Arizona, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Maine, Louisiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Wyoming, West Virginia, Tennessee and Washington D.C.

FanDuel will likely try and get in on the sportsbook scene in California too. It has a major presence in the USA and actually became a part of the Californian initiatives to legalize sports betting. Users of the site praise it for its bonuses, live-streaming options, and sports offerings.

DraftKings is a top brand too. This company has become a leading sportsbook in the US and offers a great range of sports as well as attractive promotions. This site would appeal to a great range of different players in California as it suits low-stakes bettors and high rollers alike.

The future of online entertainment is certainly exciting and it would be a shame for Californians to miss out on sportsbook betting.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *