Recognized as the largest economy in the United States (California has a $3.0 trillion gross state product as of 2020) and the fifth-largest economy in the world, the Golden State is a powerhouse. However, California still has not legalized sports wagering since the Supreme Court cleared the deck for all states to do so in 2018. So despite an immense amount of interest from their in-state population and numerous national power brokers, California still has not put together a uniform gaming policy. However, this could all change in November when voters have a chance to unleash this industry on their state.
Below, SBS will go over the latest gaming and wagering news from the Golden State and see what it means for the future of wagering in California.
In a recent spotlight from Politico, there are numerous interested parties that are vying for control of gaming in the state, especially online betting. According to Politico, national powers like FanDuel and DraftKings are up against the incumbent Native American tribes who have controlled the California gaming landscape since the 20th century. A hot-button issue, if passed, this new measure could send shockwaves through the state. A 2016 legislative analysis said residents illegally wagered roughly $18.7 billion based on an American Gaming Association estimate which could just be a piece of what is to come once legalized across the state.
The report also pointed out how much platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel are spending to get their initiatives pushed through. Each company (this also includes groups like BetMGM, FanDuel, etc.) has contributed roughly $16.7 million toward the initiative campaign, or a combined $100 million for this November’s ballot campaign. With control of online gaming serving as the crux of the debate, this will be a big clash for this November’s voting period in California. With thirty-three states, along with Washington D.C. authorizing sports betting to this point, a source in this report said that if California legalizes in November then the rest of the country will follow suit and legalize as well.
According to the Los Angeles Times, five men have agreed to plead guilty to federal crimes for their roles in an illegal Southern California sports betting operation. Led by Wayne Nix, a former pitcher in the Oakland Athletics minor league system who resides in Newport Beach, the illegal gambling ring also included three former Major League Baseball players. According to the article, Nix used his professional sports contacts to expand this betting ring into a major enterprise that employed three former professional athletes that recruited bettors. He acknowledged some fairly large customers as well in court documents with Nix receiving $245,000 from a professional football player to cover gambling losses in 2016.
In the report, Nix and one of his partners, Edon Kagasoff, agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to operate an illegal gambling business. Nix also admitted that he failed to report $1.5 million in personal income on tax returns in 2017 and 2018, court records show. Also noted in the spotlight, court records did not specify whether any professional athletes used Nix’s business to bet on their own teams’ games. In what is a particularly pivotal time for gaming in California, this gaming bust shows how prevalent and wide-spread the appetite for gambling is in the Golden State, whether it is above board or not.
With a uniform gaming policy not yet cleared in California, it would be a fantastic idea to check out the SBS guide on California sports wagering. Utilizing this resource, you will be able to find ways to legally wager in the Golden State. With that in mind and if you are always on the go, it would be an equally sublime idea to peruse our breakdown on the most hospitable betting apps. After you have found the best mobile wagering options for your lifestyle, maybe finding the most rewarding bonuses for your bets is a no-brainer to get the biggest bang for your wagering buck.