If sports-betting fans in New Jersey were a little annoyed at Phil Murphy, the governor of that state, dragging his heels before he signed the bill that legalized sports betting, then they should consider themselves lucky they are not in California.
According to the Los Angeles Times an initiative to legalize sports betting in the state of California was proposed Monday for the November 2020 ballot, putting the initial red-tape for the process of legalizing sports betting nearly two-and-a-half years into the future.
Russell Lowery, a State Agency Representative, mentioned “consumer protection” as a reason in favor of the legalization of sports betting. Currently, those looking to place a bet on their favourite sports in California would have to do so with illegal bookmakers — placing money into the hands of criminals.
The justification for a legalised sports betting industry is to give consumers the kind of protections offered to punters around the world in other regulated markets.
California is a state that is absolutely loaded with top-level sports teams. The NBA features two teams in Los Angeles along with others in Oakland and Sacramento. There are five Major League Baseball teams in California and four NFL teams. Ice hockey isn’t overly popular in California, however, the state still has teams in Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose. This is on top of college teams, teams in less-popular leagues, and minor-league teams.
If there is any kind of heel-dragging after the initiative is taken, then (assuming it is supported) who knows when sports betting will be legal in California. Perhaps early 2021 is a fair estimation at this point.