Politics & Government

Merced legislator moves to legalize gambling in California. Where would the money go?

Daily fantasy sports bill passes Assembly in blowout

Only one ‘no’ vote was cast against AB 1437 as the Assembly passed the measure on January 27, 2016. The bill ultimately died, but lawmakers in 2018 pushed ahead to legalize sports betting in California.
Up Next
Only one ‘no’ vote was cast against AB 1437 as the Assembly passed the measure on January 27, 2016. The bill ultimately died, but lawmakers in 2018 pushed ahead to legalize sports betting in California.

Legislation that would allow California to regulate sports betting independent of federal rules moved forward this week thanks to Assemblymember Adam Gray, D-Merced.

Called ACA 16, the proposal needs two-thirds approval in the state legislature to land on the ballot for voters to decide.

While it is difficult to track the popularity of illegal sports betting in the county, according to Gray, reports have estimated nearly $150 billion is illegally wagered on sports every year. Much of that happens online.

“It is time to shine a light on this multi-billion dollar industry,” Gray said. “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.”

The US Supreme Court last year struck down a 1992 federal law prohibiting sports betting in all states outside Nevada. Eight states allow legal sports wagering and more than 35 are considering legislation.

State Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, worked with Gray to introduce the constitutional amendments.

“By legalizing sports wagering we can avoid some of the problems associated with an underground market such as fraud and tax evasion while investing in problem gambling education,” Dodd said.

Both elected officials say money from legal betting could be spent on education, infrastructure and deterring problem gambling.

The constitutional amendment isn’t the first time Gray has gone after the gambling industry to pay for education and health needs.

In May, he introduced the Inland California Healthy Communities Act to close what Gray calls a “loophole” that costs the state more than $300 million per year and benefits fewer than 150,000 people, primarily millionaires and billionaires, according to his office.

If approved by the Legislature, sports wagering would be put the voters on the November 2020 ballot.

Related stories from Merced Sun-Star

  Comments