State legislators in California are working to get sports betting legalized.
Twenty-two states have now legalized sports betting since the Supreme Court ruling in 2018. However, the biggest market has been left untapped.

California is usually one of the most progressive states, but it has yet to pass sports betting legislation. Currently, state legislators are working to put it on the November ballot.

State Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblymember Adam Gray are working on the amendment to the state’s constitution. They still have to get it through both houses to appear on the ballot this year.

“I think the leagues themselves are really the experts when it comes to keeping integrity of the games,” Assemblymember Gray told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Obviously, in our proposal, we’ve banned any high school sports betting, and as we put the finishing details on this over the next few weeks, it’s going to be important that those leagues engage with us on those final details to make sure that we have the highest quality product with the highest quality standards.”

Large Market

California has one of the country’s biggest markets, with a large number of professional sports teams across the state. They will also be looking at them for support on this bill.

The NFL’s recent ruling of partnerships will help the initiative. Teams are now allowed to partner with sports betting platforms, such as FanDuel, that the Denver Broncos just accomplished this week.

If several teams are seen to have success with these growing partnerships, then owners of California teams will be sure to encourage this legislation.

“I’d like to see the players, I’d like to see the executives, the leagues, the teams get engaged,” Gray said. “I think oftentimes industries don’t raise their voice at the state capital like they should. Players don’t raise their voice at the state capital like they should.”

Much of that could change if California continues to fail to pass sports betting. There is money available, and California has one of the largest debts to its budget, which the coronavirus has only enlarged.

MLB, the NBA, NFL, and PGA Tour have written letters in support of the bill, in which the Warriors, A’s, and Giants were all involved. Leagues are beginning to accept the significance of sports betting across the country.

“I think it’s good for the interest in their game which helps them at the end of the day in their ability to attract more fans and that kind of rolls down to the higher salaries in the end because more people engaged helps everybody,” Dodd said.

Tribal Pushback

The biggest pushback in the state has been from the casino owning tribal leaders. They believe that the legalization of sports betting will have a negative impact on their business.

But if the state wants a jump start to this action, they need to act as soon as possible. If legalized in September, it wouldn’t happen for another year. It’s most likely that mobile sports wagering won’t be widespread until 2023.