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California lawmakers vote for legalizing sports betting

May 29, 2012 |  5:52 pm

Lakers center Andrew Bynum is stopped by Marc Gasol as Mike Conley comes in to strip the ball.

A bill that could pave the way for betting on sports in California was approved Tuesday by the state Senate.

Sen. Roderick Wright (D-Inglewood) said he expects the federal government to eventually change its law that prohibits all but four states from allowing sports betting.

If that happens, Wright’s legislation would allow those holding gambling licenses in California, including casinos and horse-racing tracks, to get a state permit to provide sports betting.

The measure, he said "will get California in a forward motion on something going on in other parts of the country.''

Many Californians bet on professional and college sports contests, but do so illegally in the state or through sports betting operations in Nevada, where $2.6 billion is legally bet annually on sports, according to a legislative analysis of the measure.

"We receive absolutely no money from it," Wright said, arguing that the state’s cut of sports betting could involve "a great deal of money."

There were no comments from opponents during Tuesday's floor vote on the bill, which is opposed by the California Coalition Against Gambling Expansion, the California Police Chiefs Assn. and USC.

The Senate voted 32-2 to approve SB 1390 and send it to the Assembly for consideration.


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 --Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento

Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum is stopped by Marc Gasol as Mike Conley comes in to strip the ball. Credit: Mike Brown  / European Pressphoto Agency