One individual made an absolute killing on their visit from California to a casino on the Las Vegas strip in Nevada. The guest, who is yet unidentified, is said to have pocketed $10.1 million from a $5 bet while playing at the Aria.
The guest is said to have won the eye-watering sum when he hit the Megabucks million-dollar jackpot on a slot machine.
No doubt the visitor was pleased to be able to play in a casino in Nevada as online casino in California is illegal, as well as physical brick-and-mortar alternatives outside of those on Indian tribal land.
It is reported that there are 76 Indian casinos in California, and it is the largest such endeavor in the country, bringing in revenues of over $9 billion. There are ongoing efforts to fully legalize online casino activity as well as sports betting in the state but the situation in the United States in relation to such efforts is very complex.
Each state has different laws in place for both online gambling and offline alternatives, and California is one of the largest in the country that doesn’t allow for either outside Indian tribal land.
Many attempts are ongoing across the country to legalize such activity and many lawmakers are keen to pass such legislation, not least because doing so helps to bring in massive amounts of revenue.
Looking at New York as an example you can see just how profitable such a law change could be in California, or indeed any other state considering such a legislative shift.
Mobile sports betting went live in New York state in January 2022 and in 2022 alone the state department brought in over $720 million in tax revenue. This is a very big incentive for any state, and in California, the most populated state in the US, that could equate to a very large sum indeed.
Efforts to change the betting landscape in California have been ongoing for years. In 2016 Bill A-1441 pushed the prospect of legal sports betting but proved unsuccessful. A year later a bill was brought forward that would have put the subject up for a referendum, this also failed.
2018 saw a move in a positive direction as the US Supreme Court overturned the PASPA act, which theoretically put online casinos and sports betting legalization back on the map but a year later Indian tribal groups moved to prevent any such activity outside their own land.
2020 saw a bill introduced that sought to circumvent the tribes but though this got through committee, it didn’t get past the Senate floor.
The following year, in 2021, a California iGaming bill was introduced and it had been hoped it would get on the ballot for 2022. These propositions were voted against by very partisan methods, in effect putting everything back to square one.
Some believe that 2024 might be the earliest opportunity for this can of worms to be reopened again and may be tied to the presidential election and the politicking that will no doubt be very virulent.
At present the only legal avenue available to Californians are social casinos and sweepstakes alternatives, and while this is at least something, it’s clearly someway off what many have been waiting for in the Golden State.