California Could Be The Center Of The Legal Oscars Betting World

Posted on February 5, 2020 - Last Updated on February 10, 2020

California is the most important state for the entertainment industry in the US. Because of its place in the film industry, it would be the center of the legal Oscars betting scene if the state ever allows it.

Barring legal oddsmakers from taking action on the Academy Awards would be a huge misstep. The potential is enormous.

Why California could be a huge market for Oscars betting

Because the state hosts the Academy Awards every year, there’s no more natural place for a book that has lines on the Oscars. The opportunity to capitalize on a few weeks every year is tremendous.

The number of potential bets available to bettors is high. Potential prop bets could include everything from which films make it into the nominees for certain awards to what label certain actors wear on the red carpet.

California’s wouldn’t be the only coffers enriched, either. The academy itself could sell sponsorships to oddsmakers and make money that way.

Additionally, the Oscars could become part of the books’ marketing campaigns. That would create new revenue streams for all media types connected to the program.

The more different types of action are available, the more likely it is that books would see a lot of action. As with any other event, however, maximizing that action also depends on consumer convenience.

How California could still ruin a great opportunity

The state could easily foul this up still. There are several ways to at least limit, if not completely obliterate, this product that should be a huge win for the state.

The first is by keeping online wagering illegal. That might happen if California’s tribal casinos get their way.

The state government in Sacramento is working to form a legal framework that allows online betting. Even if it is successful, it could still limit income off the Academy Awards.

The next way it could “look a gift horse in the mouth” is by barring legal oddsmakers from accepting wagers on the Oscars. That would take this from 60 to zero in seconds flat.

Indiana and New Jersey have legalized some bets on the Academy Awards this year. The types of wagers are limited, however. The more different events tied to the Oscars that California allows action on, the better.

How soon the state could start to regulate this type of betting depends on many factors. As previously mentioned, that drama is already playing out.

Could legal betting on the Academy Awards be in place in time for the 2021 show?

The simple answer is yes, it’s possible. It’s more likely that may not be the case, however. There are many moving parts right now.

This November, voters in California could have their say on at least one potential amendment to their constitution. That might open the door for this type of wagering.

If that’s the case, the state could get right to work in December drafting emergency rules for betting on myriad esports, non-sports and sports events. Oddsmakers could race to get ready to start accepting those wagers, as well.

Getting all of that up and running in time by early February 2021 would be nearly miraculous, however. The 94th Academy Awards in 2022 is more realistic.

Failing to do so at some point would be a mistake for California. Oscars betting in the Golden State would surpass the same in any other jurisdiction.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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