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Californian Sports Betting

In 2012, Senate Bill 1390 passed the California State Senate but stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill would have allowed any licensed gambling establishment to offer sports wagering. The bill reappeared in 2013 and passed through the state Senate once again, but again stalled in the legislature. Even if the bill had passed through both houses and been signed by the governor, federal law still prohibited sports betting in all but four U.S. states in 2013.

In July 2017, Assembly member Adam Gray introduced a constitutional amendment that would allow the state "to permit sports wagering only if a change in federal law occurs."

With the Supreme Court ruling that abolished PASPA in May 2018, sports betting became a hot topic in California, with the state's tribal casinos, racetracks and commercial casinos divided on the issue. The state constitution prohibits sports betting and would require a voter referendum to make the change.

In July 2018, a group called Californians for Sports Betting filed a sports betting initiative, but it would not qualify until the 2020 election. In 2020, a coalition of California tribes began the process of getting a referendum that would legalize in-person sports betting at California's tribal casinos and horse racetracks. The path was blocked by delays from the COVID-19 pandemic, but the signature deadline was extended, and the referendum was slated for the 2022 ballot. If approved by voters, retail sportsbooks would likely launch in 2022 or 2023.

In November 2022, Califorinia residents voted a resounding no to sports betting in The Golden State as voters defeated Propositions 26 and 27 respectively.

Proposition 26 would have legalized sports betting at Native American casinos and licensed racetracks. Proposition 27 would have legalized online and mobile sports betting for adults 21-years and older.

It is unlikely that California sports betting will appear on the ballot until 2024. The process of launching sports betting, which may span a year or longer, can only commence once specific criteria are set. Another probable route to legalization involves a vote on a constitutional amendment.
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