California hedges its bets on Supreme Court case

By Robert Simmons
Legislators in California have announced the introduction of a constitutional amendment which authorises sports betting in the state, subject to a change in US Federal law.

ACA 18 is the latest in a series of legislation changes published by a number of US states in response to the announcement that the US Supreme Court will hear an appeal by the state of New Jersey to legalise sports betting.

If the Supreme Court decides to support the New Jersey appeal, the decision could pave the way for the repeal or amendment of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a decision which has wide ranging ramifications for sports betting across the US.

Assembly member Adam C. Gray, who announced the amendment said: “I am pleased to see the US 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.”

California joins Connecticut and Mississippi in launching efforts aimed at removing existing state legal impediments to sports betting legalisation ahead of this judgement. However ACA 18 still requires two-thirds approval from the state legislature before it can be put to voters in a statewide referendum.

Despite this, Gray remains optimistic about its chances: “Whether we like it or not, Californians are already betting on sports through illegal and often unscrupulous websites in foreign countries. 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."


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