California’s sports fans could be a step closer to being able to bet on their favourite sports after the introduction of a new legal measure.
The Chair of the State Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, Adam Gray has officially filed a constitutional amendment that would effectively legalize sports betting throughout California, though any such changes would have to be authorized by a state-wide ballot.
Amendment ACA 16 is the second attempt by California legislators to legalize sports betting. Last year a similar amendment failed to make it out of the Committee stage, and a recent attempt to gather signatures in support of a referendum didn’t attract enough support to go anywhere.
Currently, gambling in the state is dominated by tribal operators, with over sixty venues scattered throughout the territory. But sports betting is wildly popular throughout the state, as it is across the US as a whole, with the national sports betting market estimated to be worth around $150 billion. Following the repeal of the 1992 PASPA Act by the Supreme Court last May, the number of states that offer regulated sports betting has increased to eight, with as many as 35 currently considering various forms of legalization.
And, according to Gray, there is a pressing need not just to capitalise on the potential tax revenues that could flow from sports betting, but also to tackle the problem of illegal gambling, which sees Californians betting through unregulated operators:
“It is time to shine a light on this multibillion-dollar industry. We need to crack down on illegal and unregulated online gaming and replace it with a safe and responsible option which includes safeguards against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, and fraud.”
ACA 16 would implement a change to Section 19, Article IV of the state constitution, but will require the support of two-thirds of state legislators, before being put to state voters at a referendum to be held alongside national and state elections in November 2020.