California aims for legal sports betting

Sports Betting

Adam C. Gray (D-Merced), Chair of the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee, has announced the introduction of ACA 18, a constitutional amendment to authorize sports wagering in California contingent upon a change in federal law.

ACA 18 is a response to the announcement that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear an appeal by the state of New Jersey in its bid to legalise sports betting–a decision that will have ramifications for sports wagering across the country.

“I am pleased to see the U.S. Supreme Court has shouldered the burden of bringing legal clarity to the issue of sports wagering and the rights of states under the United States Constitution,” said Gray.

The federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) has effectively banned sports wagering in California since 1992. Despite legal restrictions at the federal and state level, gambling on sports is approaching new heights of popularity in America. Reports have estimated that nearly $400 billion is illegally wagered on sports each year.

In the event the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the current ban, ACA 18 would require any legalization effort in California to muster a 2/3rds approval in the state legislature before being placed on the ballot for majority approval by voters.

“Whether we like it or not, Californians are already betting on sports through illegal and often unscrupulous websites in foreign countries,” Gray said. “It is time to bring this multibillion dollar industry out of the shadows.

We need to crack down on illegal and unregulated online gaming and replace it with a safe and responsible option which includes safeguards against compulsive and underage gambling, money laundering, and fraud. All other gaming activities in California are subject to regulations that ensure the safety of consumers. Sports wagering should be treated no differently.”