California, highly mooted as being one of the biggest potential sports betting markets in the US, appears to be making slow progress towards legalising the activity in the state. Lawmakers face a rapidly approaching November ballot deadline and reports suggest it is likely to be missed. Instead, the more realistic outcome could be legislative approval by 2019 in time for ballot in 2020.
Should sports wagering gain approval in the state, there will follow a significant period during which a regulatory framework will be drawn up, with racetracks, account-wagering providers, card clubs, Native American casinos, European bookmakers, and fantasy sports websites among the interested parties seeking licences to operate in California.
Already there is jockeying for position. Greg Avioli, president and chief executive office of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, has expressed his preference of curtailing market entrants to allow only racetracks, off-track satellites, card clubs, and Native American tribes to offer sports wagering. The rationale, presumably, is to ensure that customers head to already established gambling operators to place their bets.
More will be known when the state’s racing board meets later this summer when a public debate on sports betting in California has been scheduled.