As domestic sports betting seeps its way into the fabric of American society, more states are beginning to consider gambling expansion in their jurisdiction.
More than half of the US has access to sports betting in some capacity, whether it be through retail locations, online sites, or mobile gambling applications. US states such as Ohio and Massachusetts are quickly filing sports betting legislation.
California Considers Domestic Sports Betting
However, some states have greater obstacles to overcome before welcoming domestic sports betting. California, for example, has anti-gambling legislation written into its Constitution.
The language directly prohibits “lotteries” which translates to any game of chance. Despite having unrestricted access to legal cannabis, Californians cannot even engage in Daily Fantasy Sports.
To make California sports betting a reality will require a lot of work. A voter-approved constitutional amendment is required for any gambling expansion in the state.
Even so, it is beginning to seem like change is near for the Golden State.
Sports Betting To Solve Homelessness
As homelessness rates continue to spike in California, legislators have been scrambling for a solution. The state has over 150,000 homeless inhabitants, meaning that a large sum of tax revenues will be needed to tackle housing and assistance programs.
Of the three ballot initiatives being proposed, only one targets the issue of homelessness. It is titled the California Solutions to Homelessness, Public Education Funding, Affordable Housing, and Reduction of Problem Gambling Act.
As wordy as the title is, it is very direct in describing the ballot initiative’s objective.
The initiative states that despite having allocated over “$10 billion in recent years” state legislators have not been able to keep up with the rising costs associated with California’s homeless population.
Should the ballot initiative get approved, sports betting would be authorized to take place via retail and online locations. Additionally, these operations would only be hosted by California’s Native American Tribes and their partners.
Support Across The Cities
The Mayors of Fresno, Long Beach, Oakland, and Sacramento have already backed the initiative. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said the following about the initiative:
“Instead of leaving funding for homelessness and mental health services up to the whims of the economy, this initiative will create a stable and reliable funding source to tackle these immense challenges…”
With states like New Jersey touting a billion-dollar month of betting, California can no longer turn the cheek to these gambling revenues. This is especially true given the amount of Californians that travel to Nevada to bet on sports.
Even so, there is no guarantee that California voters are ready to welcome state-sponsored sports betting with open arms. The state may have to wait a few more years before it can expect a sportsbook rollout.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of legal 18+ sportsbooks available via offshore online services. Californians can play offshore without having to worry about the consequences of dealing with an illegal bookie.
Source: The Sacramento Bee