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California State Senator Supports Legalized Sports Betting

California State Senator Supports Legalized Sports Betting

Right now, you can make a bet on a sporting event in the United States. You just have to be in Nevada, Oregon or Delaware to do it. One California state senator, along with a few others around the country, are ready to see that change. State senator Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood, Calif.), the chair of a committee who overseas gambling, has thrown his support behind a lawsuit filed by officials in New Jersey that is looking to fight national legislation limiting the gambling to just three states. Wright’s campaign is still in its early stages, so if you’re outside of those three states and are inclined to make a wager, you’d need to go ahead and book that flight. California state senator Roderick Wright joined ESPN Radio Los Angeles with Mason and Ireland to discuss why he is in favor of legalizing sports gambling in California and the hurdles of making it happen.

On why he’s joined officials in New Jersey in supporting legalized sports gambling:

“You’re talking about an industry that’s already a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States. We allow three states – Oregon, Delaware and Nevada – to have sports betting. In addition, if you take the internet that is kinda-sorta now going – internet poker in particular but some of the other online gaming that takes place – you’re talking about an industry, in the United States, that’s probably close to $15 to $20 billion a year already.”

On the argument that gamblers have enough options:

“If you said to me, if I could prevent people from gambling, if I could stop it and make it work, [I would]. But if you look at the history of this country, our success in preventing people from doing what they want to do has not been very good.”

On the argument that gambling particularly hurts those with lower income levels:

“That’s factually inaccurate. What we’ve found, for example, in our lottery, is that you look at it two ways. … A dollar from a guy who only makes $20,000 is a bigger piece of his revenue, that’s absolutely right. But what you find is that the more affluent the neighborhood, the greater the handle on the people who play the lottery. The people who have more money tend to play more.”

On whether he’ll ask the California legislature to join the fight by New Jersey officials:

“We’re looking at it. When you talk about gaming or alcohol or prostitution, there’s kind of a push-back from people. … But particularly in this lawsuit, we’re talking about sports betting. I’m not a lawyer, but the lawyers to whom I’ve spoken, it’s kind of an equal-protection portion of the federal constitution. How am I able to do something in Oregon that I can’t do in California. What is it about Oregon that gives them a privilege that a guy in San Francisco can’t have?”

On the hurdles of making this happen:

“In order to get sports betting, the first thing that would have to happen is that the … Bill Bradley law would have to be overturned, and that would only happen in a court. Then, after the Bradley Law is overturned … after that occurs, then California would have to affirmatively opt into a scheme that would allow it to be done.”

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