California sports betting would need constitutional change
May 15, 2018
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Voters would have to change California’s Constitution before legal sports betting could come to the nation’s most populous state, state lawmakers and tribes who run the state’s casinos said Monday.
Democratic Assemblyman Adam Gray of Merced immediately said he will push a constitutional amendment after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 1992 federal law that barred gambling on the results of football, baseball, basketball, hockey and other games.
His amendment would ask voters to allow sports gambling and deputize the Legislature to regulate the wagering.
But lawmakers face a late June deadline to put it on the November ballot, a tight timeline. It would take a two-thirds vote, and tribes would likely vie with card rooms, horse tracks and online operations for the chance to run the sports book.
That makes it unlikely anything will happen quickly, said David Quintana, a tribal lobbyist with clients including the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, a major tribe in San Diego County.
It’s unclear if Congress will now add its own layer of regulation or if California would allow outside internet operators like the DraftKings fantasy sports gambling site. Sports betting is a low margin business, he said, meaning it takes a large volume of betters to make it profitable enough to be worth the effort.
Recommended Stories For You
“I think it’s going to be a pretty arduous process,” Quintana said.
Gray argued that many California residents already bet illegally, often through unregulated offshore websites.
“It is time to bring this multibillion-dollar industry out of the shadows,” he said in a statement. “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.”
Previous bills to expand gambling in California have repeatedly failed.
Trending In: Regional
- Higher percentage of California pot passing safety tests
- Ski Carve Tips: Carving like an Olympian means getting up on edges
- Nevada Supreme Court dismisses marijuana distribution case
- Bear strolls into California Highway Patrol office (video)
- Unpredictable weather can complicate life for Lake Tahoe’s seasonal workers
- Winter weather advisory issued for Lake Tahoe
- Memorial services scheduled for Dr. Stephen Bannar
- South Lake Tahoe community mourns the death of Dr. Stephen Bannar
- 6 South Lake Tahoe families searching for homes after unsafe apartment building condemned
- Parents outraged over handling of fire at Sierra House Elementary School