January 10, 2020 4 min read


California is Joining the Race for Legalizing Sports Betting in 2020

Californian lawmakers met on Wednesday to discuss the potential legalization of sports betting in the Golden State. The legalization bid will be a central piece in the 2020 session.

The United States marches on towards the country’s becoming the second largest sports betting market in the world by 2030, second only to China, as outlined by the American Gaming Association (AGA).

A number of legal moves have already happened this year, with the state of Maine on the cusp of becoming the first state to sign off on legalized sports betting in 2020, and Sen. Joseph Addabbo in New York renewing his efforts and pushing on with a mobile betting bill.

Meanwhile in Vermont, Senators Dick Sears and Michael Sirotkin have also introduced a mobile betting bill with Bill S. 213 setting a good start of the year and propelling the legal effort nationwide.

As things stand, the United States is going to move from 13 states where sports betting is legal to 30 states by the end of 2020, marking a significant increase in the industry footprint.

Authors of California’s Sports Wagering Plans

Following a meeting on Wednesday, January 8, California has also joined the race, with lawmakers suggesting that the Golden State should have the legal go-ahead to set up a wagering system before 2020 is out, although finalizing touches will most likely happen in 2021.

According to Legal Sports Report, Sen. Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray are in the core of the effort, with the pair planning on introducing a sports betting bill that will take notice of previous feedback and be included in the November ballot and offer Californian residents a chance to change their state constitution and introduce sports betting.

Commenting on the possible benefits of legalizing sports betting, Sen. Dodd had this to say in June, 2019:

“By legalizing sports wagering, we can avoid some of the problems associated with an underground market, such as fraud and tax evasion, while investing in problem gambling education.”

The Joint Assembly and Senate Governmental Organization Committees that took place on Wednesday and discussed the measure broached a number of aspects of legalizing the industry, including the state of California’s Indian gaming tribes, who have been leading their own battle against player-banked games in the state, cardrooms and racetracks.

AGA Continues to Explore and Study the U.S. Sports Betting Industry

A total of 30 betting state will definitely shift the emphasis from the offshore industry, estimated to generate $150 billion annually, to the mainland. Based on AGA estimates, in November alone, sports bettors wagered a total of $1.86 billion or an 88-percent increase year-over-year (YOY).

And California is shaping up as a powerful market so far with its 40 million residents many of whom are eager to start placing wagers at home. It has been long said that having operations run close to home, and under the supervision of an officially licensed regulatory body, has its upsides, specifically insofar as gamblers’ safety goes.

California has been actively putting a clamp on illegal operations, targeting card rooms, private betting rings and the black market as a whole. Yet, with the offshore market standing at $150 billion, at least according to AGA, it’s curious how much the United States is worth in terms of sports betting market.

According to Morgan Stanley, the U.S. should be worth at least $7 billion by 2025, which is well beyond the huge number cited by the trade body. Yet, offshore doesn’t mean just the United States, but rather a global audience of gamblers.

Before all of this can come to pass, at least in California, the State Senate and House of Representative will have to vote in favor of the bill with a supermajority. If successful, voters will also be asked to vote with a majority and approve the proposed legislation.


Stoyan holds over 8 years of esports and gambling writing experience under his belt and is specifically knowledgeable about developments within the online scene. He is a great asset to the GamblingNews.com team with his niche expertise and continual focus on providing our readers with articles that have a unique spin which differentiates us from the rest.

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