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The battle to dominate the potential California sports betting market is heating up between the state’s tribes and outside sportsbook operators, with both sides hoping that their ballot measure will be the one that most appeals to Golden State voters this November.
It was announced Tuesday by an alliance of sportsbook firms including BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel, that their online gambling measure received more than the 1 million required signatures it needed to be included in November’s ballot, with 1.6 million Californians backing it.
Just in: the California online sports betting initiative backed by DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM has qualified for the November ballot.
— Sam McQuillan (@sam_mcquill) May 3, 2022
The sportsbook measure would establish an online sports betting market in which Californian gamblers could only place bets outside of Indian reservations, a scary proposition for the states’ tribes, horse racing tracks, and card rooms who already have a measure on the ballot.
Also, up for voter consideration in November is a measure backed by California tribes in conjunction with the state’s horse racing tracks and card rooms which would essentially give the tribes the right to partner with outside operators while otherwise controlling that market.
Were that measure to pass, in-person sports betting would be legal at tribal casinos, the state’s four horse racing tracks, and “qualifying” card rooms and there would be a 10% tax imposed on sports betting revenue and licensing fees.
Of course, there is a possibility that both measures could get a majority of “aye” votes, and if that happens then sports betting would be legal at both tribal casinos and online through commercial operator/tribal partnerships.
This upcoming political battle could get expensive as both sides compete to be heard.
The good news for California punters is that a legal sports betting market could launch as soon as January 1, 2023, but only if at least one of those measures receives over 50% approval by voters in November.
That date might be deemed optimistic considering how long it typically takes to set up such a market, with other states taking many months to actually regulate, issue licenses to qualifying applicants, and set up whatever infrastructure is needed to take bets and pay out winners.
No matter which direction the state’s voters decide to take in November, big money is at stake with some industry insiders projecting a legal California sports betting market generating $3.57 billion per year in net revenue, a new income stream that could benefit residents.
It could be one of the most lucrative sports betting markets in the country and the world, but it will take a 51% majority of votes or better for it to even begin, and in the meantime both sides will be vying for the attention of California voters who can make or break this issue there.
Keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.
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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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