California considers legal sports betting

  • SCA-6 is a bill that would allow residents in California to vote in November 2020 on whether they want legal sports betting in California.
  • Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the state is billions of dollars in debt, and revenue from legal sports betting could help with that problem.
  • The bill needs to pass through the Legislature by June 25 to get to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk on time for his veto or approval.

SACRAMENTO – The California State Legislature is considering legalizing the sports betting industry after the Senate listened to both positive and negative testimonies on Tuesday.

SCA-6 is a bill that was first introduced to the Legislature in June 2019. If made legal, it would allow the people of California the opportunity to vote on whether or not they would like to legalize sports betting in California.

Why The Sudden Interest?

The subject of gambling on sporting events became a hot topic once the Coronavirus pandemic began to eat away at the economy in California.

The amount of debt the state is in has become astronomical since the outbreak of COVID-19. It was disclosed during the hearing that Governor Gavin Newsom is seeing estimates of a $54 billion deficit in the state’s budgets once the proper pandemic calculations are factored into the numbers.

And with that, suddenly sports betting legalization seems like a pretty sound new revenue stream to help chip away at that tremendous financial gap.

This initial hearing with the Senate Governmental Organization Committee heard over four hours of endless amounts of testimony from those opposed and those in favor of SCA-6. Due to the number of people that wished to voice their opinions, they were only given time to say their name, the organization they are representing and if they are in favor or against sports betting in California.

The simple cut and dry division were that Tribes in the state were opposed to SCA-6 moving forward while all others would like to see the new market introduced.

Even law enforcement called and spoke in favor because allowing legal sports betting would bring it into the light and make it a transparent and regulated industry rather than one that knowingly goes on in the black market illegally.

Both retail and mobile sports betting would be legal but all sports bettors must be 21 years of age to participate.

What Comes Next For California Sports Betting?

Initial estimates show that legal sports betting will bring in $200 million during its first year and after becoming a well-developed industry it is expected to go as high as $700 million dollars in annual sports betting revenue.

The sponsors of the bill, Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray, both believe that legal gambling on sporting events should be highly considered before slashing programs to help with budget problems.

With the number of major teams in the Golden State, it was touched on that there is a huge market going on behind closed doors for sports bettors. With legalization, not only would it make placing bets safer for residents, the economy would benefit making it a win/win scenario.

California has until June 25 to pass SCA-6 and move it along to Governor Newsom’s desk for his signature.

Should all of that occur, Californians can expect to see legal sports betting on their November 2020 ballots.

After the votes are in, the Legislature will be able to move forward with rules and regulations during the 2021 session.

SCA-6 has three weeks to move its way through so the heat is on to make this bill a reality. It passed its first hurdle on Tuesday with a vote of 9 YEAS and 3 NAYS. It will now move on to the Committee on Appropriations for a vote.

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