5 Things That Will Happen Before CA Sports Betting Launches

Written By C.J. Pierre on December 8, 2023 - Last Updated on December 13, 2023
A picture of a list for a satirical story about what could happen before CA sports betting launches.

The most recent push to legalize sports betting in California appears dead on arrival.

There were two proposed California sports betting initiatives recently. But the California Nations Indian Gaming Association voted unanimously to oppose both of them. In other words, it doesn’t look likely that the issue will be on the ballot in 2024.

The proposals would give sports betting exclusivity to California tribes and keep non-tribal operators out of the state. However, supporters of the initiatives filed plans for a tribal gaming proposal without consulting the California tribes themselves.

There has been constant back and forth, and it looks more likely that these initiatives aren’t going anywhere. DraftKings CEO Jason Robins has previously stated that he doesn’t think California sports betting will get legalized in the 2024 election. Perhaps not even in the 2026 election.

So, are we looking at 2028 or 2030? Who knows? There could be a multitude of monumental things that could happen between now and the Golden State’s sports betting industry. Here’s a list of five things I’m “kind of” sure will happen before Californians can legally bet on sports in the Golden State.

1. The “San Diego” Chargers will win the Super Bowl

That is not a typo. Before California sports betting gets legalized, I think the Los Angeles Chargers will pack things up, move back to San Diego and bring home the franchise’s first Super Bowl.

It’s a fitting story. The team started in Los Angeles, moved to San Diego after one season, then ran back to LA in 2017.

However, the recent move hasn’t gone as planned. The team only reached the postseason twice since moving back to the City of Angels. But on top of that, their home games are filled with opposing fans. They might as well play 17 games on the road.

A return to San Diego would be like the prodigal son returning. And when you have a talented young quarterback like Justin Herbert, who grew up wanting to play for the “San Diego” Chargers, you have a shot at winning it all.

2. Chris Rock, Will Smith co-host the 2032 Oscars

Chris RockIt was the slap heard around the world. During the 94th Academy Awards ceremony in March 2022, actor Will Smith slapped comedian and Oscars host Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

Many thought the entire ordeal was a planned skit. However, it didn’t take long before Hollywood realized the moment was very real. Smith returned to his seat and shouted to Rock, “Keep my wife’s name out your [explative] mouth!” Things got even more awkward later in the night when Smith won the award for Best Actor for playing Richard Williams in the film King Richard.

One week later, the Academy’s Board of Governors banned Smith from all Academy events, including the Academy Awards, for ten years. Smith has since apologized to Rock and appears remorseful about his actions. So, in a Hollywood twist, we can get these two on stage to co-host the event in 2032 once Smith’s ban expires.

Do I believe these two can bury the hatchet and co-host the Oscars before California can figure out how to launch sports betting in a way that makes everyone happy? Without a doubt.

3. Tom Brady unretires … then retires again

One last run.

Legendary quarterback Tom Brady sent shockwaves through the NFL world in February 2022 when he announced his retirement. He then sent shockwaves again when he unretired 40 days later.

Brady would lead the Tampa Bay Buccanneers to an underwhelming 2022 season before he retired “for good” in February 2023. But was it really “for good”?

Brady has won seven Super Bowls, so he has nothing to prove. However, his competitive nature is well documented. He has also been publicly critical of the current state of quarterback play in the NFL.

He has a multi-million dollar broadcasting deal with FOX lined up that he hasn’t taken yet. Maybe he is waiting for the perfect situation to make a comeback. A return to New England? A particular coaching hire in Las Vegas? Who knows? But I’ll take the odds of arguably the greatest quarterback of all time returning to play near the age of 50 before California legalizes sports betting.

4. Taylor Swift performs during a Super Bowl halftime show

Taylor Swift at a Kansas City Chiefs game

I don’t think this one is too far off. In fact, it could happen as soon as 2025. Well before a potential California sports betting launch.

Taylor Swift is arguably the biggest star in the NFL right now. Ok, maybe the correct term is ‘associated with the NFL,’ now that she is dating Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce.

Swift is one of the biggest stars in music. She’s a 12 Grammy Award winner. However, one thing she hasn’t done is perform during the halftime of the biggest entertainment event of the year. She could join the likes of Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira by performing during the halftime of the Super Bowl.

Swift isn’t a stranger to singing at sporting events. She sang the national anthem during a 2006 Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game and during Game 3 of the 2008 World Series. Given her newfound popularity amongst NFL fans, I would be shocked if the NFL didn’t make a solid effort to get her to do the halftime show during Super Bowl LIX in New Orleans. Heck, her boyfriend might even be playing in that game.

5. LeBron James teams up with his son Bronny

This is another scenario that I think isn’t just likely; it’s a given. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has repeatedly mentioned his desire to play with his oldest son LeBron “Bronny” James Jr. in the NBA. Bronny is currently a freshman at USC. He hasn’t played yet as he is still recovering after suffering a shock cardiac arrest during practice in July.

The belief was that Bronny would be ‘one and done’ at USC and enter the 2024 NBA Draft. Many have theorized that his father, LeBron, would refuse his player option with the Lakers that summer and elect to sign as a free agent to whichever team drafts his son.

Now, the thought is that LeBron will pick up that player option and become a free agent in 2025 as Bronny enters the 2025 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at USC. Scouts believe the younger James could be selected the late first round or early second round. However, he could go within the first 10 picks if a team believes he is a package deal with his dad.

If this happens, it would be the first time a father-son duo has ever played together in the NBA. It’s only happened one other time in the history of American sports when Ken Griffey And Ken Griffey Jr. played together in 1990 for the Seattle Mariners. A feat that I believe is more likely to happen before California launches legal sports betting.

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C.J. Pierre

C.J. Pierre is a Lead Writer at PlayCA. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN and is an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. He recently dove into tribal casino, sports betting and online gambling news. He also covered the launch of sports betting in Arizona. C.J. has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career, most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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