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Competitors Eye California’s Sportsbook Market

Although sports betting won’t be legal in California for at least two years, the market is attracting a flurry of interest from sportsbook operators. Brian Musburger (l.), founder of sports betting network VSiN, said the market “is going to be huge.”

Competitors for California’s sports betting market are mentally carving it up, even though the only move toward legalization is a measure carried by a coalition of tribes who want to confine sports wagering to brick and mortar casinos and racetracks.

If that measure passes in November 2020, the market could generate more than $30 billion in wagers, according to PlayCA.com.

When the state does open up, oddsmakers and big sportsbooks will begin a feeding frenzy. Brian Musburger, founder of sports betting network VSiN, told the Los Angeles Times: “The numbers that we’re seeing, what we’ve heard anecdotally from the off-shore operators … it’s going to be huge.”

Some sports betting organizations are announcing partnerships with Golden State sports franchises such as the Chargers and the San Diego Padres.

Some fantasy sports sites that are considered games of skill in California can offer free games to users while generating brand loyalty for when they transition to offering sports betting.

This approach has worked well for fantasy sports sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and other states that have legalized the practice after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled the federal ban in 2018.

Both companies have been very successful in the sports betting market and have grown rapidly. New Jersey and Pennsylvania would pale to insignificance compared to California and its population of 40 million, and a large number of sports franchises and college sports.

One possible glitch in California’s potential luster that doesn’t quite turn it into fool’s gold is that the group trying to qualify a ballot initiative that would confine sports betting to bring and mortar sites without online sportsbook. Although that could be added later if the amendment passes.

Eamonn Toland, a sports gambling consultant who formerly worked for Paddy Power, told the Times: “Digital marketing being what it is, you’re trying to find people in their den at home. You’re not trying to find people as they make a journey to a card room or racetrack or tribal casino.”

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