SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A monumental ruling by the United States Supreme Court sets the stage for legalized sports betting across the country.
The court declared the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that prohibited states from allowing sports wagering to be unconstitutional. The ruling now gives states the ability to decide for themselves whether they will allow sports wagering within their borders.
In California, that means a potential change to the constitution. A legalized sports betting bill would need two-thirds support from the state legislature in order to be put on a ballot. Then California voters would decide sports betting’s fate.
“I get to bet in the light instead of in the darkness now,” said Noah Clark, watching a basketball game at a local bar.
“People do it anyway so I think it’s great to see the state get a cut,” said Clark.
But don’t think you can call up your legal bookie just yet.
“There is a lot of work yet to do, but we’re certainly ready to do it,” said Assemblymember Adam Gray.
Gray authored a bill that starts the conversation around legalized sports gambling.
“Fundamentally I am of the opinion that regulated legal markets are better than the alternative,” said Gray.
He says the details of how a legal sports betting industry would operate must still be hashed out.
“Local control could be part of the debate,” said Gray, “I think you’re going to have some discussion should it be brick-and-mortar facilities. Should it be offered online? Should it be at both? Should the state lottery have a roll?”
According to gaming industry reports, the black market for sports betting is anywhere from $150 to $400 billion nationwide each year.
“We can eliminate that by having a regulated marketplace that is taxed,” explained Gray, “that benefits the state and has safeguards in place.”
While in favor of legal sports betting, Ciaran McDunphy wonders how taxation will be implemented and how the sports wagering industry will look in years to come.
“With that kind of money, big business is going to get involved,” said McDunphy while sitting at the bar.
Gray says there will be a lot of discussions and lobbying over the next few months and years as the framework for a legal sports betting industry is discussed. He says it could take a year or two before a measure is put before the voters.