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The recently released results from a sports betting poll conducted by the University of California Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies are somewhat promising, but of course that is depending on how you interpret the data.
The numbers are clear with 45% of Golden State voters in favor of a sports betting market in their state and 33% of them against it while 22% took the time to say that they were still undecided, not the overwhelming majority that proponents would have liked to see but still a sign that more residents want this than don’t.
New @BerkeleyIGS / @latimes
poll: California voters are leaning toward the idea of legal sports betting — 45% of voters surveyed. But what will they do if three proposals all end up on November’s ballot? https://t.co/89JMTEB4au
— John Myers (@johnmyers) February 23, 2022
Eric Schickler, co-director of the institute, had this to say in the poll release:
“In the current era it is rare for a political issue to not be seen as partisan. But legalizing sports betting in California appears to be one of them, at least for the time being.”
Given that California owns the seventh-largest economy in the world, it is understandable that industry leaders in the emerging U.S. legal sports gambling market have their collective eyes on the state’s slow path to allowing voters to decide on this decisive issue.
That could happen three different ways on the 2022 statewide ballot.
Currently, there are three potential ballot measures that could allow California voters to have their say on whether legal sports betting will be permitted there, each with its own plusses and minuses when it comes to how the market would be potentially set up.
The first measure to have qualified for the upcoming November ballot would legalize sports betting at tribal casinos and the state’s four existing horse racetracks only, a not-so-popular choice for outside operators who want a piece of the California betting action.
The section option is being backed by outside operators like DraftKings, BetMGM, and FanDuel, who have contributed a combined $100 million to that campaign to legalize online sports betting through a more open market.
The third potential pathway to possible legal sports betting in California is an initiative backed by tribal interests that would give them the ability to create an online market in addition to their in-person version.
The clock, however, is ticking since California’s neighbors are already one step ahead.
What California lawmakers and state leaders are beginning to realize is that state residents are already placing wagers on sporting activities, they are just having to go out of their way to do it using offshore sportsbooks and illicit bookies to handle their unregulated action.
California bettors can also travel to any of the state’s closest neighbors – Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona – all three of which have some version of a legal sports betting market already set up and ready to take bets.
The amount of revenue that the state of California is missing out on would be enough to put them ahead of most existing sports betting markets, with industry experts projecting that state’s potential handle at $3 billion per year, an impressive take that could create revenue that would be taxed accordingly.
It’s a tricky issue that will most likely see plenty of heated debate in 2022, so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates.
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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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