As with previous legislative efforts that have fallen by the wayside in California, the most recent attempt to legalize sports betting in America’s most populous state wasn’t to be.
The pulled proposal is instead set to feature on the 2022 election cycle which means the wait for the Golden State’s first legal sports wager will continue for a few years yet.
But, despite the latest delay in the long-running saga that is CA sports betting, the widespread belief is that legal sports betting is inevitable. Here’s why.
Significant tax revenue
California has four times as many patrons than New Jersey, which is the leading sports betting market at present. According to Forbes, if California was a country, it would be the fifth-largest economy in the world.
The arrival of California to the table of states where sports betting is legal would totally reset the online gambling landscape in America and surpass the revenue of any other state, New Jersey included.
Per an estimate by gambling consulting company, Eilers and Krejcik Gaming, a legal mobile betting market in California is valued at $2.5 billion, meaning CA is potentially missing out on between $250 million and $500 million in tax revenue.
Though a ballpark figure, authorizing legal sports wagering in any form, with mobile or without, will provide a much-needed boost to the state’s economy currently facing a budget shortfall of $54million.
Number of pro teams
California has a total of 19 professional sports teams across the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS, the most of any state. Needless to say, a sports betting market will draw the best operators in the world and create the most competitive market in the US.
Even the major sports leagues and teams themselves – previously opposed to the idea of legal sports betting – are now fully on board with trying to create a legal framework.
As well as better protecting the integrity of games, sports teams will benefit financially from sponsorship deals struck with sportsbooks, similar to the recent ones agreed between the Denver Broncos and FanDuel, and the Indiana Pacers and PointsBet.
The need to quash the illegal market
Everybody knows that even without a regulated betting industry, wagering on sport takes place regardless. That’s not only in California but across America in states yet to legalize.
Offshore, illegal sportsbooks, based outside US jurisdiction but easily accessible to US citizens, are still rife among bettors, of whom some are not even aware the website they’re using is illegal. In a recent study conducted by the American Gaming Association, 84% of bettors interviewed were surprised to learn the website they were using was not legal.
Such sportsbooks continue to capitalize on consumers, confused about the legality of sports betting in states like California.
State regulators have come to realize, not only the importance of keeping money spent on betting, in-state, but the need to protect the safety of its patrons and wipe out the illegal market completely is becoming more pressing.