Sports betting in California is a possibility but there’s more than meets the eye

With California’s general election taking place on Nov. 8, 2022, ads that are for or against props are all over TV and social media. The props that seem to be gathering the most attention are Prop 26 and 27.

While each prop would bring sports betting to the state, each has their own pros and cons that need a closer look.

First, here’s a look at the current state of gambling in California.

Gambling in California

As of right now, sports betting, roulette, and games with dice like craps and hazard are the only forms of gambling that are illegal in California.

The California State Lottery, Cardrooms, 66 tribal casinos spread out in 28 state counties, and publicly and privately operated horse racing betting are legal in the state.

In order to operate, each form of gambling needs to pay a fee. State lottery’s revenue supports the education system. Cardrooms pay $24 million annually and $100 million to the city it is located in. Horse racing betting pays state and local fees and taxes

Each form of gambling is regulated by The California Department of Justice (DOJ) and The California Bureau of Gambling Control.

Native American tribes are able to govern themselves when it comes to gambling. Tribal-state compacts, federally approved agreements between tribes and the state, must take place before gambling takes place on tribal lands. Payments to state and local governments are part of the compacts.

Proposition 26

Overview: Prop. 26 would allow in-person sports betting at racetracks and tribal casinos. Roulette would also be legalized. Racetracks and tribal casinos would start to pay the state to help with state regulatory costs. New gambling laws will also be enforced.

Pros: Betters must be 21 years old and present at select racetracks and casinos to make their bets. 

High school sports will be illegal to bet on as well as games featuring California colleges. So if you’re a USC or UCLA fan, you can’t bet on those programs.

The revenue from sports betting will go to the new California Sports Wagering Fund (CSWF). CSWF would be a state tax revenue that would be distributed among K-12 and community colleges every year. The remaining monies would then go to gamblingaddiction and mental health programs, sports betting and gambling enforcement costs, and the state’s General Fund.

Cons: Tribal casinos decide whether or not sports betting will be offered and choose the age requirement to bet. 

Only four privately-owned racetracks will offer sports betting. For those that live in Southern California, Hollywood Sports Park and Santa Anita Racetrack could be options. 

The cost of regulating in-person sports betting, racetrack and casino payments and gambling penalties and the cost of enforcing gambling laws are expensive.

You can learn more and vote for Prop. 26 here.

Proposition 27

Overview: Prop. 27 would allow tribal casinos and gambling companies to offer online sports betting. The casinos and gambling companies will have to make payments to the state such as regulatory costs and help with the homlessness problem in California. New laws to regulate and stop illegal online sports betting.

Pros: Sports betting will be available online and on apps for people 21 years old and older.

High school sports and elections are banned to bet on.

Taxes from online sports bets goes to help shelter the homeless, mental health and addiction programs and the new Tribal Economic Trust Fund, a program that will distribute money to tribal casinos not participating in sports betting.

Cons: The gambling companies are out-of-state businesses and will get more profit than California.

Sport betting online is more accessible to underage people and to those who have a gambling problem.

Small, rural casinos may not be able to afford a gambling license.

You can learn more and vote for Prop. 27 here.

According to ABC7, the California Republican Party is against both props while the

California Democrat Party is neutral on Prop. 26 and against Prop. 27. Regardless of which prop is voted through, California can join the 26 states that have in-person or online sports betting.