- Lawmakers in California are going to debate the legalization of sports betting in 2020.
- The MLB is going to push for the legalization of sports betting.
- Two sports betting bills are going to be considered during the 2020 legislative session.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sports betting in California is gaining support and the MLB is going to push for legalization.
On January 8, a hearing about legal sports betting was conducted. In that hearing, many stakeholders in California voiced their opinion about which direction sports betting should go for the state.
One of the key stakeholders for California sports betting was Bryan Seeley, senior vice president of the MLB. It did not seem like the MLB cared how they would legalize sports betting, but they do want it to happen this year.
“It's important to Major League Baseball that California enacts a legal, regulated sports betting framework that protects consumers, provides tax revenues to the state and protects the integrity of the game,” said Seeley.
This is a dramatic shift from MLB’s original stance for sports betting. Back in 2018, the MLB was completely against the legalization of sports betting and sued with other sports leagues to keep it restricted.
They ultimately lost the lawsuit and now states all over the country can decide to legalize sports betting. Now the MLB is pushing for legalization to make sure that the sports betting market is regulated.
Two Paths For California
There are two different methods in which sports betting can be legalized in California. The tribes in the state have a strong interest in operating CA sportsbooks. But if the tribes in California are given control of sports betting, mobile wagering will likely not happen.
The tribes in California expressed interest in mobile wagering, but not for the first few years. They said that they do not believe that the voters of California would want mobile wagering. It is ultimately up to the California voters to legalize sports betting or not.
Many of the lawmakers in California disagree with that sentiment. The lawmakers believe that giving the tribes in the state exclusive control will only hinder the growth of sports betting. The state is huge and without mobile, there are many bettors that will not have access to sportsbooks.
For that reason, lawmakers are going to push for legalization that includes mobile wagering. No matter the path, it will take sometime before sports betting will be considered legal gambling in California. If lawmakers approve a bill and the governor signs it, it must go to the voters in November. Sports betting will not launch in California until 2021 at the earliest.