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Posted by Drew Martin
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A proposed constitutional amendment to authorize sports betting in California was introduced in the state assembly on Thursday, on the heels of the Supreme Courts decision to review a case challenging federal law against it.

Introduced by assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced), the amendment would go into effect only if federal law governing sports betting namely the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) is changed. Regardless, the legislation puts California at the forefront of states considering a future with legalized and regulated sports betting.

Whether we like it or not, Californians are already betting on sports through illegal and often unscrupulous websites in foreign countries, Gray said in a statement. 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.

Amending the state constitution is difficult. Any legalization efforts would require two-thirds approval in the state legislature just to get on the ballot as a referendum issue. Then its fate would be up to voters.

Gaming legislation has also had a difficult time in the state legislature in recent years, due to the diversity of gaming interests in the state. In 2015, Gray introduced legislation to legalize daily fantasy sports, but after passing by an overwhelming majority in the Assembly, the bill was tabled indefinitely. t-introduced-in-california-state-assembly/

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