Last Updated on May 28, 2020

California Sports Betting

Like many other states, California is looking to sports wagering as a possible way to kickstart the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, State Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblymember Adam Gray released a statement on amendments to the California Sports Wagering and Consumer Protection Act that the two are spearheading.

“Like many of you, I’m not a gambler but I see how important this is for the well-being of California,” Sen. Dodd said. “Even if you don’t bet there is good reason to support this bill. Revenue from sports wagering will help us avoid teacher layoffs and painful cuts. At the same time, it will allow us to regulate a practice that happens anyway.”

“Gambling is the last thing on the minds of many hardworking families during this time of crisis,” Assemblymember Gary said. “However, the legalization of sports wagering will create much-needed revenue for programs in education and public safety at a time when the state is facing down a $50 billion deficit. We can put an end to this black market and restore critical public funding – that’s a win-win.”


Two Major Details

Sen. Dodd and Assemblymember Gary introduced the California Sports Wagering and Consumer Protection Act in June of 2019, but they are making slight changes to the bill to account for the expected drop in tax revenue for the state this year.

  • The proposed tax rate in the bill has gone from 10% to 15%.
  • California Sports betting would be allowed at tribal casinos and racetracks, but not cardrooms.


Where Does California Sports Betting Go From Here?

California’s push for sports betting is not unique to the state. All across the country, state governments are looking for creative ways to bring in tax revenue despite the volatile economy. Even states like New York — where sports betting is already legal — adding components like mobile sports betting are on the table.

The simple fact of the matter is that states are going to need to figure out ways to increase tax revenue or suffer the consequences of cuts to education, healthcare, public safety, and other necessary services. Sen. Dodd and Assemblymember Gray both mention the need to fund the state’s education system.

The California Sports Wagering and Consumer Protection Act is a constitutional amendment and thus, it will be up to the voters to decide in November.