California Arrests for Illegal Betting are the Highest in the Country

If ever there was proof that no legal sports betting in California is a problem for the state, let this be it. For years now, illegal wagers have been flying all over the place. It’s a problem that has forced authorities to work overtime to try and shut down everything, but even they miss some movement. Well, a new report is out and California arrests for illegal betting are the highest in the country per capita.

That’s right, a new study has indeed proved that California ranks No. 1 across the United States when it comes to gambling-related arrests. While the official numbers haven’t been released in breaking down each subdivision, no one can argue that a high amount of these bets are sports related. Throughout the year, so many different sports-betting rights are being found, with people getting in serious trouble for it.

Things aren’t going to be slowing down in the near future. This past weekend, football fans were surely checking the NFL betting odds for the 2023 NFL Draft. With the San Francisco 49ers, LA Rams and LA Chargers all making a splash in the draft, it only led to folks finding ways to get money down on who they would take throughout the weekend. Yes, the first-round action is intense, but the draft only gets more intriguing the rest of the way.

This latest news should be eye-opening for lawmakers and officials. This past year, there was hope that one of the sports betting bills would get voted in, but they both failed. Now, it’s on someone to put together the right plan for legal sports betting to get across the line. Until that happens, illegal activity is only going to be a consistent problem in the state. And with that, more arrests will surely be on the way.

No active sports betting bills are on the table in California

To make things even worse for proponents, no active sports betting bills are on the table in California. There are two sides to this story. For starters, politicians could simply be waiting to get the right proposition put together so that there’s no division among the voters. This was a major issue last fall, as the local tribes and the major sportsbooks were going head-to-head against one another in a negative way. The voters didn’t like that.

However, people are also calling for there to be some urgency here. While people are trying to stay patient in hopes that something positive will come together, the fact that no bills are in motion as of this writing is a major concern. This could lead to sports betting in California not arriving until either 2024 or 2025. No one wants to see that, as people are hoping that good news will be on the way later this year.

As we’ve said several times, there are billions of dollars at stake here for the state. The total betting handle in California would 100 percent be through the roof if legal wagers were permitted for folks to participate in. There are so many fantastic pro teams, but the college sports action in California is hard to top. For USC alone, quarterback Caleb Williams holds the best NCAAF betting odds to win the Heisman Trophy next season.

In addition to that, Williams is also the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick next year in the NFL Draft. That’s how good he is and that’s how popular the football program is for USC. People would love to bet on both of those options for Williams, but the only way they can get that done is if they do so illegally. And with the news that betting-related arrests are sky-high in California, it’s just not a good look at all for those involved.

What’s next for the California sports betting push?

With all of that said, what’s next for the California sports betting push? It’s hard to say, as the government in the state can’t seem to get out of its own way in this case. Whenever there’s even an ounce of optimism for things to get done, a negative update arrives. That alone is disheartening for all the sports fans who are waiting to see some sort of a historic change.

If you take a look on social media, specifically Twitter, people are complaining left and right that they still can’t make any type of legal wager. While the NFL Draft was electric, Californians would love it if they could check the NBA betting odds this time of year and put money down on the postseason. The Golden State Warriors are hoping to repeat as champions.

Don’t forget that Major League Baseball is also back, with the Los Angeles Dodgers eyeing a return trip to the World Series. With Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman and Clayton Kershaw, that could happen. Sports teams all over California are in contention to have big years. However, people in California are sitting on the sidelines when it comes to legal sports betting. It’s a huge shame.

Peter Lewis

Peter Lewis Jr. comes from Mississippi where he and his family spend their days discussing college football, baseball and basketball. He's written sports journalism for years after studying journalism at a local university. Over time, Peter has cultivated extensive knowledge covering sports betting legislation across the country. He closely tracks the latest regulatory developments and provides key insights into their impacts. Peter also offers sharp MLB betting analysis, leveraging stats and trends to identify value on matchups.