California Residents Are Furious They Can’t Bet on March Madness

After so much promise at this point last year, nothing but negative updates for California sports betting has arrived for fans out there. There are currently no new betting bills on the docket, and officials don’t look to be in any rush to try and get something back up on the board. This time of the year, people have hoops wagers on their minds. Because of that, California residents are furious they can’t bet on March Madness.

On Thursday, the 2023 NCAA Tournament officially kicked off. Along with Super Bowl betting, March Madness is one of the biggest sports betting events of the year. Every March, the NCAA tourney sees boatloads of bets come in on some of the top college programs across the United States. However, Californians are still stuck on the sidelines, having to watch people elsewhere be able to get in on the action.

Because of this, there’s a high amount of people who continue to voice their anger, doing so quite a bit on social media. All over Twitter, people in California are letting lawmakers know how ticked off they are. With so many games taking place in the first round, folks would love nothing more than to be able to check the NCAAB betting odds, see where their favorite teams are listed and then put money down.

However, just like last year and the season before, this isn’t an option for basketball fans in the state. With both of the sports betting propositions failing during last November’s ballot, it set back the sports betting efforts for California. Now, no one knows what will end up happening in the future, but people aren’t feeling like anything good will be coming soon. California sports betting is up in the air right now.

March Madness bets are flying elsewhere around the country

What makes things even more frustrating for people in California is that March Madness bets are flying elsewhere around the country. With things getting underway on Thursday, there were amazing showdowns that took place, which of course led to a lot of wagers being recorded. Not only that, but we saw some big-time upsets, including Furman shocking ACC powerhouse Virginia on the opening day.

Oh, and don’t forget that No. 15 Princeton beat No. 2 Arizona, which resulted in the sportsbooks across the USA raking in a ton of money. This was easily the biggest upset of the year, with plenty of people picking Arizona to make it to the Final Four. Looking ahead to the rest of the tournament, more upsets will surely be on the way and this is something people in California would have loved to watch closely.

For people in the state, they will of course also be following No. 2 seed UCLA quite closely. The Los Angeles-area program has high hopes for the Big Dance, with plenty of fans thinking they could also shock plenty of people and potentially make it to the Final Four. With Arizona being eliminated early on in the tourney, there’s surely some pressure on UCLA to keep things rocking for the Pac-12.

With UCLA cruising to a big win in the first round, there will be a lot of NCAA supporters who will be betting on them in the second round, and then the Sweet Sixteen – if they make it that far. Again, this is something that people in California wish would be an option for them. However, the only way they’d be able to do that is if they made wagers illegally, which unfortunately is something that authorities know continues to be a growing problem.

Illegal March Madness bets are surely being recorded

On top of everything that officials have to keep in mind, there’s no doubt that illegal March Madness bets are surely being recorded. Remember how we mentioned that the Super Bowl pretty much goes hand in hand with the NCAA Tournament in terms of sports betting? Well, California had plenty of illegal wagers take place for the Super Bowl between Kansas City and Philadelphia.

With March Madness, people are going to find ways to get their bets in no matter what. Whether it be illegal bookies or using off-shore accounts, California citizens are going to find a way to participate in March Madness betting. We’ve certainly seen things take place during the first round of the tournament, but things will surely heat up as we get closer to the National Championship Game. Bookies will be working overtime to get bets in and try to make the most amount of dough possible.

What stings here is that last fall, it really did look like sports betting would be legalized with one of the betting propositions on the table for the ballot. Instead, both of them were shot down and nothing has been able to change for the state. With the uncertainty for the future too, it only adds to the frustration of sports fans in California. Who knows when sports betting will arrive, but people aren’t holding their breath.

Chris Boline

Chris Boline is a renowned sports journalist with a lifelong passion for the industry. Originally from Reno, Nevada, he is a key business development figure in college athletics, with over a decade of experience with the NBA G League, Los Angeles Chargers, and Mountain West Conference. Boline holds an MBA from the University of Nevada. He has received MVP and "Best of" honors from the NBA/Sacramento Kings, Nevada Press Association, and more. His work has been showcased statewide and nationally. Boline has established himself as an expert in MLB and legal sports betting developments. When he's not immersed in the world of sports, Chris finds joy in exploring nature's wonders.