Assemblyman working to amend California constitution to allow sports betting

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The process to legalize sports gambling in California won't happen overnight. However, the first step to making it happen is already underway. (AP Photo/John Locher)

The process to legalize sports gambling in California won't happen overnight. However, the first step to making it happen is already underway.

Hours after the Supreme Court ruling, Central Valley Assemblyman Adam Gray announced he's moving forward to amend the California constitution, which currently bans sports betting.

RELATED: Supreme Court gives states go-ahead to allow betting on sports

Gray introduced the bill last year, with the idea that it would sit and wait until this Supreme Court ruling came down.

Now that it has, the bill will go through the committee process in Sacramento.

If the proposed constitutional amendment gets two-thirds support in both the Senate and the Assembly, it'll go on a state-wide ballot to be ratified by California voters.

It just needs a simple majority.

Assemblyman Gray says the soonest that could happen is this November. But before you start placing your sports bets legally, a constitutional law professor at Santa Clara University says there are still other hurdles.

"And California probably has other laws, other state laws that already have those prohibitions, so California would have to repeal those. And if they want to create a structure, a legal structure for that sports gambling," said Deep Gulasekaram.

Backers of the amendment expect some opposition from tribal casinos, card rooms and race tracks, since those entities currently have a monopoly on legalized gambling in the states.

But they also expect plenty of supporters, given the ability to regulate a legalized industry and the potential tax benefit.

An estimated $20 billion to $40 billion of "black market" sports betting goes on in California -- even a small percentage in taxes would be a big boost to the state coffers.
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