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California moves toward legalizing sports wagering

New Jersey took in more money in sports betting in May than Nevada highlighting the immense growth the industry will have across the country.

Illinois officially has joined the parade of states that have embraced legalized sports wagering since the Supreme Court opened the floodgates last May. California officially has entered the pipeline. But it won’t be as easy as it has been in other states.

In California, a public vote will be needed to change the state’s Constitution to allow sports wagering. Via Sports Business Daily, California legislators have proposed a ballot measure that would set the stage for legalized gambling on sports, with an election that could happen as soon as November 2020.

Tribal groups with casinos in California could push back aggressively. In Florida, Native American gaming interests worked with Disney to finagle an amendment to the Constitution (opposed by the Dolphins) to require a public vote for any gambling expansion -- along with a 60-percent supermajority.

As noted by David Purdum of, the bill needs 66-percent of the legislators to approve the California version of the law before it could make it to a public ballot. Which will make it harder to get there.

Nevada would surely be happy to see the effort fail. Even though New Jersey became in May the first state to ever handle more wagers than Nevada in one month, Nevada’s wagering business has spiked since the topic of legalized sports gambling entered mainstream consciousness. It will surely stay that way, if folks in nearby California have no local options when it comes to placing bets.