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California sports-betting bill advanced by Senate panel

Gamblers may one day be able to legally bet on sports in California under a measure that was approved unanimously by the state Senate Governmental Organization Committee
Gamblers may one day be able to legally bet on Lakers and Dodgers games in California under a measure that moved forward Tuesday in the Legislature.

The bill was approved unanimously by the state Senate Governmental Organization Committee on its way toward the Senate floor, but even if the Legislature enacts the measure, sports betting could not begin until the federal government also lifts a ban on the activity.

Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Los Angeles) predicted the federal ban would be lifted and said his measure would mean significant new money for the state's depleted treasury, stopping the cash from instead going to Nevada or other states exempted from the federal ban.

"Californians spend multiple billions of dollars going to places where this is legal," Wright told the members of the committee he chairs. The measure would allow sports betting at existing California horse-racing tracks, card clubs and Indian casinos, and was backed by the California Gaming Assn., a group of 71 poker halls.

The measure was opposed by Rev. James Butler, head of the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, who said it would increase problem gambling and jeopardize the integrity of sports.

 Sports betting, he said, "is rife for the potential of corruption."

ALSO:

"Man up'' on budget, governor tells lawmakers

Assemblyman Hernandez apologizes, gives up state car

State treasurer's wife admits she accused him of supplying drugs

-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Kobe Bryant of the Lakers drives against a defender. Credit:  Jim Weber / Associated Press

 
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