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California sports betting referendum set for November 2020


Sports betting has been illegal in California since the introduction of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), but a push to legalize the activity is gaining momentum.

The year 2019 has already seen several US states approve sports betting legislation, with Indiana, Iowa, Montana and Tennessee all passing bills to allow gambling on sporting events.

A state-wide referendum on sports betting, which has the backing of more than 20 tribes, is set to take place in November 2020 in California.

The inclusion would pair with a 10% tax on gross gaming profit, which would be put towards the state welfare projects such as health, education and public safety.

If the people vote in favor, wagering would become legal for professional, college and amateur sporting events, with the exception of any markets relating to Californian colleges and high schools.


While the bill in question legalizes retail sportsbooks at land-based betting outlets, it does not open the door for online bookies and mobile gambling.

Mark Macarro, Tribal Chairman of Southern California’s Pechanga Band, made a statement in relation to the proposed ballot.

“Californians should have the choice to participate in sports wagering at highly regulated, safe and experienced gaming locations,” he said.

“We are very proud to see tribes from across California come together for this effort, which represents an incremental but important step toward giving Californians the freedom to participate in this new activity in a responsible manner.”

Sports betting in California could become legal as quickly as January 2021 if the ballot is accepted.

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