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Last week, we reported that California Voters Say No to Sports Betting After Most Expensive Battle in U.S. History, an almost half-million-dollar exercise in legislative futility that saw state lawmakers selling two different legal sports betting bills with most residents refusing to buy.
California could be the largest sports betting market in the U.S. someday, a state made up of a complex web of citizens, some born there, others having moved there for business, while still others part of the CA native tribal culture that has long been intertwined with gambling.
On November 8, Golden State voters rejected Prop 26, the in-person option that was backed by most of the tribal population, and vetoed Prop 27 which would have legalized the mobile market which benefitted outside operators, a double snub that seems discouraging on the surface.
But according to a representative from Yes on Prop 27, a political action committee (PAC), the fight for a legal California sports betting market has only just begun and they plan to pursue that goal well into the future:
“Our coalition knew that passing Prop 27 would be an uphill climb, and we remain committed to California.”
One good thing that came out of that expensive legislative workout was issue exposure.
California lawmakers have had since May 2018 to create a passable sports betting bill, that’s when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA and gave states the right to legalize, regulate, and tax their own markets, but so far despite plenty of efforts that CA market has yet to launch.
Since then, over thirty other states have created legal sports betting markets, some with mobile, others in-person, and most with both options available, and it has become a multi-billion dollar industry that has created a new tax revenue stream for all those states involved.
The failure of Props 26 and 27 to pass CA voter muster is a clear message that those versions of that market aren’t good enough, so the job for lawmakers and industry insiders becomes to first learn from that failure and use those insights to create passable legislation for the future.
One such specialist is Jed Kelly, the managing director of equity research at Oppenheimer, who called the double-no vote a “net positive” due to the amount of overall publicity that contentious issue has now received:
“I think it's good. Like OK, we kind of got two years of visibility.”
Hopefully, state lawmakers can use that momentum to guide the ongoing debate further forward.
California lawmakers will next convene starting on December 5 and they won’t adjourn until November 30 of next year, so there is plenty of time for all those opposing parties to come together and achieve enough compromises to get a passable bill written.
That will only happen once outside operators and California legislators give serious credence to the tribal grip on that state’s existing gambling market, otherwise, as they just found out, the resistance that group can bring costs far too much to crumble.
Meanwhile, California sports bettors must continue to make do and go elsewhere to find sportsbooks that can handle their action, an outward money flow that only lawmakers can staunch with a legal sports betting bill that everyone can get behind.
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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