California considers legalising sports betting

Simona Boshkova | Published 2 Jun 2020, 12:19 p.m.

The number of US states that are turning to legalise sports betting is constantly increasing. Yesterday, we reported that the Representatives in Ohio discussed whether sports betting in the state should be legalised or not. In addition, there have been updates on the sports betting situation in Louisiana and Washington. As it seems, each state is in a different phase of sports betting legalisation, but all of them go towards the same goal.

Today we have news about California. With California facing some revenue issues due to the current situation, some of the state lawmakers consider sports betting legalisation as a way to increase revenue.

California could boost revenue by increasing gambling options

Adam Gray, a state assemblyman from Merced, explained how California can boost revenue by increasing gambling options. So far, the policymakers claim that the state has a budget deficit of $54 billion. According to Mr Gray, even if the legalisation of sports betting won’t solve the budget crisis, it can help the state to reduce its costs. He believes that the proposal for sports betting legalisation provides some flexibility.

Moreover, together with Adam Gray, Bill Dodd, a state senator from Napa, want to see a constitutional amendment for statewide sports betting referendum on the November ballot. Dodd’s amendment is scheduled to be heard Tuesday in the Governmental Organization committee. Their bill was first presented about a year ago and proposes tribal casinos and horse racetracks to offer sports betting, including retail and mobile wagering. 

Expanding the types of gaming available in California has always been hard because there is intense competition between tribal casinos and card rooms. Those card rooms have games like poker and blackjack which cause the conflict. In this proposed sports betting legislation, each of them would receive expanded gaming options to try and appease the other.

It’s expected that the state would tax sports betting gross revenue at 10% for retail gaming and at 15% for online gaming. The sports betting bill needs a two-thirds vote in order to be passed to the voters. The gaming market in California is likely to be one of the largest in the country, since the state has a population of nearly 40 million, plus 16 professional sports teams.

Playtech enters New Jersey iGaming market

On the other hand, the gambling company Playtech has gained entry to the New Jersey sports betting market and plans to launch this year. It has received approval to start supplying operators with New Jersey with online casino products.
The company is set to launch soon in New Jersey under a transactional waiver with Bet365 and Hard Rock Atlantic City. Moreover, Playtech expects to launch with more operators in New Jersey in the near future and has started the licencing processes.

The CEO of Playtech, Mor Weizer, called the casino approval in New Jersey ‘a major milestone’ for the company. He added that they are proud to have met the regulatory requirements in the state and that they will be launching in New Jersey with their long-standing partner Bet365. Also, Mr Weizer explained that the US is a highly strategic market for Playtech and that the company will increase their products to include sports, platform, and live casino over time.