Sports Betting Could Transform California Gaming Industry

It takes zero experience to bets sports. I should know; I’ve been betting sports for over 50 years.
Sports betting is one of the most entertaining forms of gambling because it offers both an adrenaline rush and a chance to win while watching your favorite sport.

Now with the possibility of sports betting sweeping across America, the gambling industry will be transformed. It is akin to when poker moved out of back rooms to being front and center on our televisions.
Thanks goes to Governor Chris Christie for taking the case for states’ rights to the Supreme Court resulting in a 6 to 3 Supreme court decision reversing a long-stranding federal law banning sports betting. States now can decide if they want legal sports betting.
I have spent millions personally on becoming an expert on sports betting and the social behaviors that surround it.
My dream used to be to retire to Las Vegas and spend my retirement in the sports book (my dream is my wife’s nightmare.) But now that dream can come true in California if sports betting is legalized in the Golden State. This could be the next gold rush.

The San Diego area would be a perfect place for sports betting as it would stem the flow of local players from going across the border to bet in Tijuana, Mexico.

Sports bettors will also increase the horse racing industry handle by the millions, if not billions, nationwide because sports betting and horse racing go hand-in-hand.

Impact on College and Professional Sports


Sports franchises from major leagues to minor leagues, from soccer to billiards, could also be big winners.
I have always said if you could not bet on the NBA, it would fade away, and it looks like Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, understands that. The NBA was the first major sports league to change its long anti-gambling stance.

The same applies to college sports. Nick Saban was quoted as saying he knows that people have been betting illegally on football games for a long time, and now if they bet legally, he has no problem with it as long as it doesn’t affect the integrity of the game.
The biggest winner of all will be the sports bettors. They can finally step out of the shadows and gray areas of the law where they have lurked for the past hundred years. A safe and regulated industry for sports betting fans, including strong consumer protections, will transform the gaming landscape in this country.
Imagine going to a Los Angeles Dodger game and betting on them at the stadium. Talk about fan engagement. Or how about betting on play-by-play on your phone watching the game live with in-game betting.
The West, the East Coast and the South could all be potential winners. Gamblers will go to other casino games when the ball games are over to try and get even or play with their winnings.
I see sports betting becoming a powerful marketing tool to promote a casino property. From a purely marketing standpoint, it’s tremendous for any casino.
And if and when sports betting goes online, the sky’s the limit for revenue. I personally feel that online betting will hurt brick-and-mortar casinos. That is a whole other debate, but to me it’s simple math.

Casinos need traffic for jobs and expansion, and if customers are playing online, it’s debatable they will go into a casino unless a marketing genius finds a way to cross-promote both online and in the casino.

Let’s take the example of a California casino that opens a large sports book in a Palm Springs. It would need to hire at least 400 more staff to accommodate its guests in providing food and beverage. In addition, that increase in visitors creates a domino effect that could lead to a surge in hiring from valet to security and so on.

But if internet sports betting is legalized, then those 400 new jobs would drop to only 50 employees.

In the end, the biggest loser could be the state of Nevada, which stands to lose millions of customers, especially from California. Casinos in Nevada may have to reconsider those resort and parking fees Californians so detest (a subject for another article but timely with the WSOP beginning today).
Bookmakers and illegal sports betting sites may still exist because they offer credit, and you can bet on the phone or from the comfort of your home. But they could also take a hit if casinos offer sports betting on the mobile phones and online.
Sports betting can be a dream come true for millions and is long overdue in the gaming industry. But there is a dark side to it. Problem gambling will increase tenfold, so that needs to be addressed when states pass new sports betting laws.

California Can Lead the Way


The big challenge in California will be determining who will take your bets and where you can bet. The horse racing industry, casinos and card clubs in California need to unite on this issue to make it legal as soon as possible. There is enough action for everybody.
If all the entities with an interest in introducing sports betting to the state of California can come to an agreement, I expect to be able to place my first sports bet in my home state in 2020.

Where sports betting is legalized will determine where I will live out my golden years (I’m looking at you, Palm Springs).

Robert Turner is a legendary poker player most well-known for introducing the game of Omaha poker to Nevada in 1982 and to California in 1986. He created Legends of Poker for the Bicycle Casino in 1995 and Live at the Bike, the first live gaming site broadcast on the Internet in 2002.

Robert has over 30 years’ experience in casino marketing and player development. He has served as an executive host at the Bicycle Casino and MGM. He is currently working as a casino consultant.

Robert can be reached at robertturnerpoker@gmail.com for consulting, marketing and coaching. Find Robert on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/thechipburner and on Twitter @thechipburner.

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