Sportsbooks Back Mobile Sports Betting In California
Legal

Sportsbooks Back Mobile Sports Betting In California

A lobby group of powerful online sports betting giants including DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM are proposing legalized and regulated online sports betting in California that would benefit mental health and the homeless. A separate initiative on the ballot during California state elections in November of 2022 will be seeking approval for legal and regulated retail sports betting sites at Tribal Casinos and racetracks throughout the Golden State. 

Sportsbooks Support Mobile Betting in California

  • A lobby group of powerful online sports betting giants are proposing legalized and regulated online sports betting in California that would benefit mental health and the homeless
  • DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM are among the betting sites behind the California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act
  • An initiative to approve legal and regulated retail sports betting in California will be on the ballot during the November 2022 mid-term elections

Some of the biggest players in the legal and regulated online sports industry in the USA are flexing their powerful muscles in order to swing the battle for control of sports betting in the state of California over to their favour.

A lobby group of powerful online sports betting giants are proposing legalized and regulated online sports betting in California that would benefit mental health and the homeless. DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM are among the betting sites behind the California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act.

The campaign is being managed by Dana Williamson, once an advisor to former California Governor Jerry Brown. Other major political players involved in the plan have in the past worked with current California Governor Gavin Newsom, U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris and former U.S. President Barack Obama.

A separate initiative to approve legal and regulated retail sports betting in California will be on the ballot during the November 2022 mid-term elections.

Slow On The Uptake

California is known as the Golden State. Yet when it comes to sports betting, it has more resembled the fable of the goose the laid the golden egg. Since sports betting was made legal across the USA by a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision, many states have moved quickly to capitalize on this opportunity to gain added revenue for their states.

California hasn't been one of them and industry experts believe that the Golden State is missing out on a golden opportunity.

Chris Grove is a managing director for Eilers and Krejcik Gaming. They are a research firm that is advising California state lawmakers on the issue of legalized and regulated sports betting. Grove believes that every day's passage without sports betting in California is costing the state coffers untold billions in lost revenue.

"California is easily the largest prize in the U.S. sports betting market," Grove told the Los Angeles Times. He estimates that the legalization of retail sports betting could generate $1 billion in annual gross revenue for the state of California. Factor online and mobile sports betting into the equation and that total revenue pot would grow to $3 billion.

Further estimates are that legal and regulated sports betting could generate as much as $500 million in annual tax revenue for the state.

Unlike Canada, which recently passed a bill that changed the Canadian gambling laws to permit single sports betting, currently California prohibits all forms of sports betting within the state other than horse racing.

Battling Gambling Entities

Why is California laying an egg instead of grasping this golden goose by the neck and shaking all that money free? The politics of opposing groups within the state's gaming industry are the stumbling block that is keeping California from cashing in on sports betting.

California's First Nations tribes control the casino industry. There are 18 tribal organizations that banded together to form the Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering. That lobbying group gained the necessary 1 million signatures to get the retail sports betting initiative on the November 2022 ballot.

The same lobby group worked to defeat legislation in the California State House that would have legalized sports betting across a broader base, including non-tribal card clubs and state-sanctioned online and mobile betting sites.

The current proposal only permits retail sports betting at tribal casinos and state racetracks. It also prohibits all wagering on any university sporting events involving California schools.

The card clubs are working with the California Gaming Association to lobby against this initiative. Their group, called No on the Gambling Power Grab, has raised in excess of $1 million to support their fight.

Native groups believe that when they were awarded the right to operate the state's casinos, it also gave them control over all other new forms of gambling in California. They believe the opening of these 50 or so card clubs went against that agreement and tribal groups have opposed their existence ever since.

The new coalition views their initiative as being complementary to the tribal initiative for control of retail sports betting. Some hope that the three sides can work with government officials to hammer out a joint agreement before the 2022 election. However, considering the consternation that's existed for decades between tribal groups and the card clubs, that seems optimistic.

Pro Sports Bonanza

It's easy to understand why the leading sports betting sites are anxious to mine the Golden State. California is home to more major professional sports franchises than any state in the union.

There are five MLB teams (Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres, Oakland Athletics) four NBA teams (Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings), three NFL teams (Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers), three NHL clubs (Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks), three MLS franchises (Los Angeles Galaxy, Los Angeles FC, San Jose Earthquakes) and a WNBA team (Los Angeles Sparks).