California sports betting remains illegal pending a potential constitutional amendment, but clever capitalists can usually find some gray area. The Los Angeles Rams have become a great example with a Rams Pick ‘Em game.
The desktop and mobile game strongly resemble in-game proposition bets legal in other states. It’s legal in California for one big reason despite state laws making California sports betting illegal.
Why Rams Pick ‘Em doesn’t violate California law
The simple reason that Rams Pick ‘Em is legal even though it works exactly like a prop bet is that it’s technically not gambling. The Rams don’t require players to make a cash deposit.
The game is available everywhere but Florida, Rhode Island, and New York. Fans who are at least 18 years of age can access the game via the team’s website or mobile app.
The game asks players to predict things like whether the Rams will elect to kick or receive if they win the opening coin toss. As no cash is taken in on those “bets,” there are no cash prizes.
Fans who correctly predict outcomes win prizes like autographed memorabilia or game tickets instead of cash. Selling those items is a possibility, but the Rams wouldn’t be part of that transaction.
The Rams are benefiting from leeway in the law. As long as the Rams don’t take in cash from players with the potential of cash payouts for winning bets, they aren’t technically running a sportsbook.
Outside of a marketing tool for the Rams, the game is a good way for the NFL franchise to make a foray into future gambling avenues.
What Rams Pick ‘Em could lead to in the future
Should California law ever change to allow sports betting, this demonstrates that the Rams could be a leader among NFL teams in terms of getting in on the action.
The Rams’ shiny new stadium would be an ideal location for a physical sportsbook if future laws would allow. If the Rams see a high level of engagement with this game, it will entice further investment in gambling.
Other NFL teams, especially ones located where sports betting is legal, will latch on if the game does well. It’s unlikely they would offer prop bets on their games for integrity reasons. That doesn’t mean they won’t get in on the action in other ways.
For example, Illinois law allows for sporting venues like Chicago’s Soldier Field to house sportsbooks. The Rams’ game could act as proof of concept for the Bears to get invested.
Success of the game could politicize the Rams’ future
Rams Pick ‘Em could also lead to the franchise becoming an advocate for a constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting. Betting on the outcomes of Rams games would not only heighten interest but create new sponsorship opportunities, as well.
The same sway that secured the land for the Rams’ stadium in Inglewood could go a long way toward influencing Sacramento and voters to approve such a measure.
Right now, the game acts as a way for the Rams to collect customers’ information for marketing purposes as well as boost viewership of game broadcasts. In the future, it could be much more.