Will Online Sports Betting in California Ever Be Legalized?


As you probably know, there are no legal options to lawfully bet on sports in California. While the future of online sports betting in California remains uncertain, many business owners are considering establishing a California LLC to capitalize on the potential opportunities in the gambling industry if legalization does occur. This is a bit surprising, given the fact that many US states have already legalized some forms of gambling and there are many working on similar laws. The good news is that California has several initiatives that lay the foundation for the creation of the legal framework. The best-case scenario is that punters will be able to bet on their favorite sports as soon as 2023, but it may take slightly longer for this to happen.

Promising November 2022 ballot initiatives

The end of the year is a much anticipated moment for sports betting fans in California, who are hoping for a ballot in November. For this to happen, at least 1 million verifiable signatures are needed and so far there are already two initiatives that have crossed the psychological threshold. These measures intend to make sports betting legal for people who have turned 21. Tribal groups statewide will be able to establish partnerships with online bookmakers, to provide players with a legal way to bet over the Internet.

Such initiatives are supported by major gambling operators, including international players who have offices in the US. For a sportsbook company to lawfully provide gambling services in California, it will need to pay tens of millions of dollars for licenses. Branded tribal bookies will enjoy preferential treatment, with a much lower fee, so they remain competitive. A significant percentage of the taxes raised will be used to fight homelessness, but also support other good causes.

Healthy taxes on gambling revenue

State officials are right to consider these proposals because they would generate a lot of money for the state coffers. Online sports betting would be “taxed by 10% on revenue” according to JeffBet.com, which means that a lot of money can be raised by simply taxing the gambling activities. At the time of writing, most of the people in California who gamble online do it illegally, and no taxes are paid. Instead, offshore bookmakers enjoy all the benefits, while giving nothing back to the community.

One of the most important aspects of legalizing sports betting is that punters should be presented with counseling if they fight the risks of addiction. This is one of the biggest threats to sports betting, as well as other forms of gambling and it needs to be properly addressed. The proposed measures indicate the fact that online bookmakers who have secured a license in California won’t be allowed to bet on college teams. This restriction applies to mitigate the risks of fraud at UCLA and USC.

Small steps are being made in the right direction, but at the time of writing, it appears that lawful sports betting is still years away. Even though many of the initiatives enjoy the attention of lawmakers and the support of Californians, there is also opposition to these measures.