SCOTUS ruling opens door for legal sports betting in CA

Posted at 6:42 PM, May 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-14 21:42:23-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The Supreme Court ruling striking down the federal ban on sports betting opens the door to making it legal in California.

Jeremy Lind stopped by this sports bar in Normal Heights for a little lunch and sports.

"I'm a Steelers fan myself, Go Steelers!" said Lind.

Lind isn't shy about making bets with friends.  His appetite for bets could soon expand.

"That would definitely open up my betting curiosities I think," said Lind.

'That' is the possibility sports betting becomes legal in California, now that the federal ban has been struck down.  The road to legal sports wagering requires a state constitutional amendment.  Both houses must pass a bill by two-third votes. A majority of voters must then approve it at the ballot box.  Proponents say sports gambling is already happening, including off-shore websites.  George Belch is the co-founder of SDSU's Sports MBA program.

"The main argument for this is: it's a reality and we need to recognize this and how to control it," said Belch.  

The regulation would include consumer protections.  Supporters say taxpayers will win out.  Some estimates place revenues from sports betting between $100 and $200 million in annual tax revenues.  Belch says critics will point to sports gambling's impact on the integrity of amateur sports and gambling addictions.    

"They will point out we don't want to make it easier people to bet.  It we facilitate it, it's simply not a good thing," said Belch.

Belch says if sports betting becomes legal, you could see it at casinos, racetracks, online sites, even individual parlors. 

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association issued the following statement: "...we would advise the state to move slowly and cautiously and examine all angles as it relates to sports betting.  As the state of California weighs the decision of whether to allow for the practice of sports wagering, we firmly ask that tribes have a place at the table in any and all discussions surrounding this issue.  We also want to make very clear that California voters have, on numerous occasions, confirmed the exclusive right of California tribal governments to operate casino-style games.  Legalization of sports betting should not become a back-door way to infringe upon that exclusivity.  A strong, well-regulated gaming industry is of utmost importance to California’s tribal governments and the public. Protecting the integrity of the gaming industry protects California and is our true North Star that guides all of our stances and decisions ..."

To get on the November ballot, both houses would have to approve it by late June.  One Assembly source tells 10news that's unlikely, with a more likely date being November 2020.