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United States democracy has a chance to shine in November as critical local elections are held throughout the country, and in California, the most populous state of them all, voters will get the chance to weigh in on seven ballot initiatives with two of those related to legal sports betting.
California still has no legal sports betting market even though over 30 other states and DC have already launched their own operations, possible ever since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA in May 2018 thus allowing each state to make that choice on their own.
As is true with many other states, California is home to a native tribal population with gambling treaties already in place, so any move to add legal sports betting to the mix must take those prior agreements into consideration or else face the legal wrath of an angry tribal nation.
With almost 40 million residents, CA is a potential gold mine for existing sportsbooks that are already making a fortune in those other states where they are operating, so whatever voters choose in November will affect the potential tax revenue such a legal market might generate.
The two propositions on the ballot are based on very different priorities.
The two California sports betting bills up for a November vote are called Proposition 26 and Proposition 27, and each lays out how legal sports betting market in that state would look and how it would be regulated including tax rates and where those funds would be earmarked.
Proposition 26 – this bill is supported by some of the native tribes because it would allow residents to bet on sports at the privately-owned horse racing tracks located on their lands, with a 10% tax meant for enforcing gambling laws and gambling addiction programs.
Proposition 27 – a mobile sports bill that is supported by many of the existing sportsbooks because it would allow resident bettors to use their devices to place bets, with tax revenue going towards regulatory costs and to tackle homelessness and help nonparticipating tribes.
Should both of these propositions pass, there is language included that says both can become law, though that would most likely end up in the courts where further regulatory details would no doubt be sorted out.
The lobbying and marketing battle between the two campaigns backing either of the Propositions has been fierce in California, with hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to make sure voters understand what is at stake this November.
Whether the people decide they favor the so-called “California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative” that is Proposition 26 or the mobile option that the operators are all for that is Prop 27 or vote for both of them is anybody’s gamble.
In the next few months, both sides will use big budgets and Native actors to state their case so this will no doubt be a confusing issue for many California voters, but it could be a $3B annual market in a huge state whose upkeep costs a lot more than that, so expect more coverage.
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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