Will California gamble on legalizing sports betting?

Sports betting might become legal in the state of California. Photo by Shutterstock.

About 31 million people bet on Sunday’s Super Bowl that resulted in a victory for the LA Rams, according to the American Gaming Association. While sports betting in California is still not legal, that could change this year. There could be four initiatives on the November ballot.

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a rule that prohibited commercial sports betting in most of the country in 2018, and according to New York Times sports reporter David Chen, betters are now taking advantage of the new opportunities it provides. 

Up until a few years ago, the NFL was adamantly opposed to sports betting. But Chen says the league has changed its tune and is even benefiting financially now. He says the organization made nearly $2 billion in various sponsorships and other partnerships. 

Chen says one proposal is already on the ballot. It would allow sports betting at tribal casinos and is sponsored by local tribes, including Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians. Another is sponsored by big sports betting sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel. They’ve pledged $100 million to get the initiative started. The companies are also claiming that 85% of the proceeds would support homeless initiatives. 

Chen points out that the ballots face opposition from some groups who are concerned about gambling addiction.

“There's some folks who've been pointing to Europe and the U.K. for example, where there are some real terrible gambling addiction problems. That's one of the moral arguments that's been made. … [if you’re] allowing, at least [make] sure there are certain controls or warnings associated with gambling.” 



  • David Chen - sports reporter at The New York Times