Sports Betting

What is the likelihood that California will legalize sports gambling in 2024?

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California Sports Betting

Legal sports gambling is a thriving industry around the US but not every state has adopted the policy. California has yet to legalize sports gambling despite lawmakers pushing to make it happen. In the November 2022 election, there were two different options on California’s ballot. However, the legalization was declined. 

The state likely needs a constitutional amendment to try and successfully get it on the next ballot for the fall of 2024. One massive reason sports gambling has had such a tough time becoming legislation is the power that tribal entities have in the state. California is home to hundreds of “federally recognized Native American Tribes”. 

These tribes own and operate all casinos in California. They have a monopoly on the industry. Time after time they’ve refused the expansion of sports gambling in the state. With all these factors at play, the chances of sports gambling getting legalized in 2024 look slim.

Why were Props 26 and 27 Rejected by lawmakers in the November 2022 election?

First off, we’ll share a summary of these two Props that never became legislation. Prop 26 sought to allow tribal casinos and racetracks to offer on-site sports betting. Additionally, it had no provisions for online sports gambling in the state. In the November 2022 election, it was voted down by more than 2:1. Residents of the state were not in favor of this Prop. 

Then there’s Prop 27. This proposition was slightly different than the aforementioned one Prop 27 wanted to legalize online sports gambling and that only. There was support from major sportsbooks in the industry like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. Despite that, 82% of Californians voted against the Prop. The state was not ready for the legalization of sports gambling. 

With just shy of 40 million residents in California, the state would be one of the biggest sports gambling markets in the country. Certain lawmakers believe that the state is missing out on millions in revenue. States that have had legal sports gambling have been thriving. It’s only a matter of time until California legalizes sports betting. 

The only legal sports gambling that is allowed in California is Horse Racing. Those are the only types of bets that sportsbooks will allow in the state. Residents have to use illegal offshore gambling markets to place their bets. None of them are licensed operators.

What major factors are holding sports gambling from becoming legalized in the US?

A loose coalition of tribal groups are the primary stakeholders for all forms of sports gambling in California. Hundreds of Native American Tribes are federally recognized by the States. With that, they own and operate all casinos in the state. Native American Tribes have a monopoly on sports gambling in California. Despite tribes likely benefiting from the expansion of sports gambling, they’ve continued to prevent it from happening. The biggest reason for the delayed expansion is their fear of giving control to another group. 

Finding outright support for the legalization of sports gambling is going to take time. Lawmakers who support this proposed legislation need to continue to educate voters on what legal sports gambling could do for the state. The opportunity for profitable revenue from sports gambling is through the roof. When will sports gambling finally become legalized in California?