Why is California not moving on sports gambling?
By Bob Garcia
The Golden State could be one of the last in the country to legalize sports gambling
Several states have already legalized sports gambling since the Supreme Court shot down PASPA a year ago. Many more are currently working on their own legislation to enter into the industry, with launches expected between now and 2021. Notably absent from all of the flurry of activity is California and no one can really determine if – or when – the Golden State might try to grab a piece of the action.
The issue with California is complex. There are plenty of sportsbooks available to residents – every one of them illegal. The problem is that gambling is virtually completely controlled by the state’s tribes and lawmakers have proven, time and again, to be leery of trying to introduce any legislation that could upset them. This is with good reason, too. The tribes have fought gambling expansion at virtually every turn and win every time – sometimes costing the state millions of dollars.
Still, the fact that California has the highest number of professional sports teams and no legalized gambling is perplexing. One gambler visiting the state asserted, “I do think it is ridiculous that you can bet on the Dodgers or Lakers or Angels in Las Vegas and now in all these other states and not do it here. Just make it legal like in other places. I’m sure the state will make money off of it by taking their share.”
There are 63 casinos in California – all of them run by tribes. They earn $7.9 billion each year and seem to be content where they are. Tribes across the country, with the exception of New Mexico, have shown little interest in sports gambling and this doesn’t appear to be ready to change anytime soon in California, either.