The past year held dozens of landmark events in sports betting across the United States. More than a dozen states launched legal sports betting, some allowing for mobile betting as well. DraftKings was at the forefront of the original launch in New Jersey. DraftKings surprised everyone with a polished product that was ready when the opportunity struck.
Now, everyone is watching the progress of sports betting in the country’s most populated state. After striking gold in 2019, DraftKings is primed to mine the California sports betting market when it opens. Here’s a look back at DraftKings’ success in 2019, plus a lay of the land for what it will take to open the lucrative California sports betting market.
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There Was Gold in 2019
DraftKings carried the momentum they started in August 2018 into the New Year. While they slipped slightly in the mobile revenue rankings for New Jersey mobile betting, it seemed they were focusing their energy towards gaining entry into new states.
A year after opening their first legal sportsbook in New Jersey, DraftKings launched in West Virginia this past August. Not long after, they kicked off operations in Indiana. In between, there were other states that opened their doors to sports gambling.
DraftKings entered the Pennsylvania markets and were granted a license for mobile betting in New Hampshire. Both New York and Mississippi welcomed DraftKings to their state sports betting family with physical locations.
DraftKings sportsbook is available at the Scarlet Pearl in Mississippi and at the Del Lago Resort in Waterloo, New York. They also are part of the retail market in Arkansas and Delaware, with mobile sports betting being proposed for the near future.
After such a successful 2019, DraftKings is a key player when sportsbooks are approved in Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Colorado. While DraftKings is keeping watch on these four states, they also opened retail sports betting venues at all Wild Rose Casinos and Resorts in Iowa.
Last year was an exceptionally exciting year. However, 2020 has the potential to exceed even the loftiest of expectations. The number of states on the verge of launching legal sports betting may more than double the current count. One sports betting gold mine everyone, including DraftKings, has their eye on is California.
California’s Sports Betting Prospects
Almost anyone associated with sports betting envisions the opening of the California market to be like the historic gold rush that kicked off in January 1848. As we come to the end of January 2020, many are looking to strike gold in the sports betting industry.
However, there is still a lot of panning to do before California gives up her sports betting mother lode. The entrance to possibly one of the biggest sports betting markets has been blocked by a constitutional amendment passed that allowed Californians to gamble in the first place.
California lawmakers thought they did a fabulous thing for the state’s gambling industry with this constitutional amendment they approved 20 years ago. The law that opened the door for many types of legal gambling in the state has now created quite a conundrum for legislators.
The original gambling laws were designed to protect the consumer and specifically the tribal venues where gambling would be legal. Now there’s an ongoing fight about who will gain control of what will undoubtedly be one of the most financially lucrative sports betting markets in the world.
Presently, the tribal casinos are not willing to give up their control over the bulk of the state’s legal betting revenue. Big name casinos and sportsbooks are trying to push for a repeal of the old law, paving the way for a new referendum to hit the ballot box as early as this coming November.
Currently, there are four racetracks where it would appear logical that the first sportsbooks would be able to open without much problem. These tracks are Santa Anita Park, Golden Gate Fields, Del Mar Racetrack and Los Alamitos.
Betting at these tracks is limited to horse racing and legal card games. The industry is regulated under the guidance of the California Horse Racing Board. What new legislation would do is to create a completely separate entity to handle sports betting in the state. So, how will California get to the point that the gold mine of sports betting is open?
Opening the California Gold Mine of Sports Betting
One easy way to get to the ultimate end is to appease the tribal casinos. In reality, this looks like the simplest route. However, invariably someone is going to become unnerved at the financial opportunities handed over by this type of compromise.
The other course of action would probably involve a handful of federal lawsuits. Anyone privy to the timetable involved in litigating lawsuits will cringe at the thought of this option. What would happen is, lawmakers would write legislation to rescind the current laws to create new ones.
Anyone thinking this might be a simple process might be unaware that the California Gambling Law and Regulations is more than 500 pages long. Inside this document is much of the information that needs to be rewritten.
If California legislators can rescind the 2000 constitutional amendment without creating too much of a stir, that would be the simplest route. There seems to be a bonafide interest in legalizing sports betting. The California-sized question is how to get there without creating a statewide legal battle.
A sports betting amendment of any kind would require a simple majority in the California Assembly, and then a two-thirds margin in the Senate. Once the law is passed, no one envisions there to be any problem getting it inked when it reaches the Governor’s desk.
California’s millions of residents still cannot bet on sports in their own state. The offshore options are suspect. While driving across the state border into Nevada is an option, it’s one that sends potential revenue across the state line as well.
Nearly everyone envisions sports betting will eventually be legalized. How California gets there is the question. When it does hit the ballot boxes across the state, everyone believes it will pass easily.
When sports’ betting does become legal in California, it will be like a second Gold Rush for sports bettors. DraftKings is coming off a super-successful year in 2019. They hope to be part of the early sportsbook operators to get a chance at mining the California sports betting gold.