Update: Further Advance ofSports Betting Legalization in California

Bill SB1390 passed by the State House Governmental Organization Committee

Following the Wednesday approval of the bill SB1390 by the state House Governmental Organization Committee, the state Senator Rod Wright's initiative aimed at legalizing sports betting in California marked a fresh progress.

The Senate passed the bill end of May with a vote of 32-2 in-favour to challenge the existing federal Professional Amateur Sports Protection Act by allowing single-game sports bets.

Representatives of card clubs and racetracks officially supported the bill, whilst the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion expressed disagreement on the grounds that the legislation would put California at risk of losing the right to host any collegiate championship sporting events sponsored by the NCAA.

As per the bill, all entities holding the state licenses to conduct gambling activities (including card clubs, racetracks and horse-racing satellite facilities at county fairgrounds) will be authorized to apply to their regulatory agencies for a permit to offer sports betting services within their regular scope of business. According to the committee analysts and industry connoisseurs, legalised sports betting in California could create 10,000 new jobs at gaming establishments following the adoption of the bill.

Based on the request submitted by the University of Southern California and Stanford, gambling on games involving sports teams will be exempted from California universities, for both playing at home or in another state.

The bill further specifies that sports wagers would have to be made only in the licensed gambling establishments, could not be charged to a credit card, would have to placed by the individual making the bet, and would be permitted only by those 21 years old and older.

The next step in the process is submission of the proposed bill to the House Appropriations Committee for approval. Following the prospective approval, the Governor Jerry Brown should sign the bill and reverberate the recent New Jersey's developments.

Wright expressed no worries about the possible court clash with federal law, as New Jersey was likely to set a precedent by challenging the PASPA before it was time for California and other states to do so, the Ventura County Star newspaper reports.

"SB1390 gives us a statute ready to go when changes are made in federal law. There is a state in front of us that will absorb all the legal costs," Wright added.

PASPA was passed in 1992 to restrict sports betting in Nevada and three other states. This decision has been recently questioned on discriminatory grounds by other states focused on developing betting activities in view of the prospective tax revenues.

New Jersey Senator, Frank LoBiondo, introduced this issue to Congress in order to look for possible solutions to the federal vs. state problem and allow US states to establish legal sports betting.

General assessments show that sports betting could be an important revenue generator in US. As per the National Gambling Impact Study Commission Report from 1999, as much as $380 billion annually is wagered illegally on sporting events each year, "making sports betting the most widespread and popular form of gambling in America." On the other hand, the American Gaming Association estimates that Nevada casinos generated more than $150 million gross from the $2.7 billion wagered on sporting events.

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