In the wake of the landmark Supreme Court decision striking the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), Assemblyman Adam Gray has announced his intention to move forward with plans to amend California’s constitution in order to legalize sports gambling.
What are the prospects of legalized sports gambling in California?
Assemblyman Gray’s bill proposes to amend the State’s constitution as a first step towards legalizing sports gambling in California. The bill, first introduced in July 2017, would amend that portion of California’s constitution that otherwise prohibits the State from authorizing lotteries or casinos (the type of which operate in Nevada and New Jersey, for example) such that the California Legislature would subsequently be expressly permitted to authorize sports wagering. In the event that two-thirds of each chamber of California’s Legislature vote in favor of the bill, it would then be put to a simple majority vote of Californians through a ballot initiative. Importantly, however, should this measure clear each of those procedural hurdles, the Legislature would still need to pass a law, or series of laws, to allow for sports gambling and determine, among other things, which entities could accept wagers.
What Does the Future Hold for Sports Gambling?
California is one of many states expected to move swiftly with proposed legislation seeking to regulate sports gambling. In the absence of federal sports gambling legislation (note that federal legislation is an unlikely proposition in the short term), businesses and individuals seeking to enter the legal sports gambling space must be prepared to confront the reality of a patchwork regulatory climate that varies state by state. Accordingly, it is imperative that those interested in entering this space work closely with knowledgeable gaming lawyers to review all aspects of their prospective licensing applications and associated offerings.