What’s Next For CA Sports Betting? Ask The Voters, Expert Says

Written By Connor Grootenhuis on July 27, 2023
UC Davis professor of law Katherine Florey tells PlayCA what the next steps would be in the CA sports betting legalization process, from playca.com

The Seminole Tribe of Florida got a big victory after the DC Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a previous decision that halted sports betting in Florida.

The overturning of the original ruling lays the groundwork for Florida to launch online sports betting, and could do the same for other states, like California.

Now that the dust has started to settle from the Seminole ruling, what is next for California sports betting?

An expert in tribal gaming law, UC Davis professor of law Katherine Florey told PlayCA that right now, the focus for California is all about convincing voters.

Next steps for California sports betting

In the last election cycle, two sports betting propositions were on the ballot. Prop 26 would have allowed in-person sports betting at California casinos and horse racing venues, while Prop 27 would have allowed online sports betting throughout California.

Both propositions failed by large margins. Thus, a lot has to happen before sports betting can launch in California.

“I would guess another sports betting measure will be on the ballot sooner or later, and there will be an expensive campaign and likely litigation if it passes,” Florey said.

Extensive sports betting marketing campaigns have been common in other states, so it’s reasonable to guess that California could do the same in an effort to sway voters.

Sports betting on the ballot in 2024?

Whether a new sports betting measure makes it way onto the ballot in 2024 remains to be seen. When asked about this possibility, Florey said it is uncertain, but possible.

“Several tribes have indicated openness to the idea. It was a hard-fought and expensive battle in 2022, which may deter some of the relevant actors from trying again,” Florey said.

“At the same time, there is a lot of interest in sports betting in California, and voters might be more receptive if not faced with dueling propositions (26 and 27) as they were in 2022.”

Potential sports betting operators in California

When California sports betting does launch, many of the top sportsbook platforms in the industry are expected to make their way to the Golden State. In fact, some platforms, such as Caesars, have expressed interest in working with California tribes under the revenue-sharing parameters of Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA).

When asked if she expects the Seminole decision to get other operators, such as FanDuel and DraftKings, to consider this relationship with California tribes, Florey was optimistic.

“The decision is definitely a good sign for platforms wanting to form this sort of relationship with tribes,” Florey said. “It doesn’t resolve all potential issues, but it removes or at least diminishes a significant source of legal uncertainty.”

When the industry does launch, California sports fans will have access to a robust betting market with many options to choose from. Only time will tell when the industry gets the green light.

Photo by Shutterstock.com
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Connor Grootenhuis

Connor Grootenhuis is the Managing Editor at PlayCA, covering all things gambling and sports betting in California. Originally from the Midwest, he is now based in the Bayou State of Louisiana. Connor received his Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from Miami University in 2017, and his Master’s degree in Health and Wellness Management from Tulane University in 2019. While obtaining his Master’s, he worked as a Graduate Assistant with the Tulane athletic department. He is an avid supporter of the RedHawk and Green Wave athletic teams, and his favorite professional teams are the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, and New Orleans Saints. When it comes to his sports bets, Connor is a firm believer that every loss is a bad beat and every win is easy money.

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