It’s not often that we turn to the pages of Sports Illustrated for our blog source material, but this week we feel it is important and appropriate. Why? Because The Supreme Court made a major move in the world of gambling, choosing to overturn a previous federal ruling that banned professional sports betting. Now this can mean different things in different states, but in our home turf of California there are important facts to remember.
First, a little bit of background. As we have often covered in our blogs before, gambling addictions can be incredibly dangerous (they also happen to be something we treat at VRC). And truth be told, sports are often the gateway into serious dependencies.
Living in a state like California, where casinos aren’t necessarily easily accessible, the easiest way to feed these cravings is with bookies and online wagers on NFL, NBA and MLB teams. So opening up the floodgates to legalized bets on games, spreads and fantasy leagues could have some serious repercussions.
Based on the ruling, however, it looks like CA still hasn’t quite got the freedom to allow hardcore wagers (though are neighboring states like Oregon and Arizona have much more liberties now). But with this major hurdle out of the way, actions are already taking place to propose new bills that allow it.
SI revealed that California state assemblyman Adam Gray is moving forward with a proposed constitutional amendment that would make sports gambling completely legal in our region. According to their insiders, it aims to get in front of the Assembly Committee before the Legislature’s summer recess. And what does that mean? If it were able to pass both houses (with an emphasis on revenue it could generate for the state, no doubt), the proposal would go to a vote and potentially be enacted by as early as November.
How possible that may be remains to be seen. SI writer Jeremy Fuchs still has strong feelings that such a movement would get struck down. “A dispute and a looming lawsuit between tribes and the legislature makes a sports betting bill unlikely,” he wrote. “Bills to legalize sports betting have been introduced in session since 2015, though they have yet to make significant progress.”
So while Fuchs believes it to be “unlikely,” it is obvious that several state representatives are eager to see sports gambling become a reality in our state. It is certainly a concerning topic and one that has the potential to fuel many more addictions in the coming years. We advise everyone to follow this story closely.