Is California Going to Overtake Nevada as the USA Gambling State?
Is online gambling and sports betting coming to SoCal
Nevada has long been the gambling capital of the United States, but could that change? A relaxation in gambling rules and regulations is under way across America right now.
This comes after the Supreme Court moved last year to finally legalise online sports betting, a decision that was welcomed by the California Gaming Association.
Previously, Nevada was almost the only place in the country where it was both legal to visit a land-based casino and place a bet on the big game.
Things are changing quite quickly now, though, with a number of states having since opened the door to online casinos and sports betting companies. As a result, the US is seen as one of the major growth markets for online betting globally in the months and years to come.
So which states are going to be at the heart of this online betting revolution? Nevada remains at the forefront of the industry, but California is among the places looking to play catch up.
Is online gambling legal in California right now?
The heart of the gambling industry in California has long been the state's thriving poker industry. Dozens of cardrooms across the state are licensed, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues every year.
Bingo games and poker nights are also legal in the state, while racetracks permit pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing and casinos can also be operated by federally recognised tribes too. Additionally, scratch cards and draw games are offered by the California State Lottery.
Legal online gambling options for sports in the state have been very limited, however. This might be about to change, though, with daily fantasy sports operator DraftKings having taken up a large amount of office space in downtown San Francisco
Towards the end of last year, lawmakers in the Golden State moved to make sports betting through the internet legal. Senator Bill Dodd and Assemblyman Adam Gray are trying to gather support for a bill that would make online sports betting legal in California at some point in 2020.
The arrival of DraftKings - which also runs a sportsbook in the US - into California could indicate that the company is confident that the bill will pass, opening the doors for companies like itself.
Co-founder and president of DraftKings North America, Matt Kalish, explained the move to San Francisco was designed in order to help the firm to provide "the ultimate in creative sports-entertainment content".
Why is California so attractive to the gambling industry?
With about 40 million people living in California, it would become an absolutely huge market for betting and casino companies were online gambling to be fully legalised in the Golden State.
Indeed, as California is widely considered to be the most liberal state in America, it is something of a surprise that a change to the law has taken so long to come to fruition here.
There are some challenges facing California if the state intends to overtake Nevada and become the gambling capital of the country, however. The first of these is that Las Vegas is already established as the place to go in the US for anyone who wants to gamble, either by placing a sports bet or by visiting land-based casinos.
Las Vegas has a reputation as the ultimate party city with gambling among the major attractions of Sin City, with Vegas often thought of as an automatic choice for things like bachelor parties.
California is so big that it would be very hard to establish any part of the state as the place to go for gambling, whereas Vegas is concentrated around the four-mile Strip, making it easy to get around and see everything that the city has to offer.
It feels like it would be very hard for California to usurp Nevada as the country's gambling mecca as a result, though listed here are some of the places where people living in the Golden State can find no-deposit casinos.
The California Gaming Association seems set to keep pushing for changes to the law, though, with sports and casino fans in the state having to be patient to see what happens next.
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