California could have multiple sports betting questions on the ballot in 2022.
A coalition of US sportsbooks announced on Tuesday an initiative to bring mobile sports betting to the Golden State.
Those sportsbooks are:
- Fanatics Betting & Gaming
- Penn National/Barstool Sportsbook
What’s in new mobile CA sports betting initiative?
The initiative is titled: “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act.” It aims to legalize online CA sports betting, with a percentage of revenue going to support mental health services and fight homelessness.
The group of operators said in a joint statement:
“A state that is home to many of the world’s most innovative technology companies should no longer be stuck with antiquated, unsafe and untaxed sports betting options. The Act ensures a comprehensive licensing process — one that requires extensive vetting of experienced operators — and creates a competitive marketplace, as competition for market share will ensure the best products and experience for consumers.
“The future of online sports betting is here and active across the country, and there is no reason for the Golden State to be left behind.”
A spokesperson confirmed plans to spend at least $100 million on the campaign.
Are CA tribes on board?
Local tribes broadly oppose CA mobile sports betting. Eighteen tribes recently backed a ballot initiative that would authorize retail betting only.
However, there are signs that some tribes might be on board. For one, CA sports betting operators would have to partner with tribes for licensing and thus share revenues.
Dana Williamson, who is managing the campaign, said it would complement the existing tribal initiative.
DraftKings weighs in on California sports betting
DraftKings CEO Jason Robins said:
“Our goal is to replace the flourishing, illegal, unregulated sports wagering currently happening in California with a legal online option. That includes critical safeguards in place to keep minors from betting, requires identity verification and includes best in class consumer protections.
“We are looking forward to working closely with California Tribal nations throughout this process. We recognize the important role that they should play in operating online sports wagering in California.”
Cardrooms are working on a third ballot question that would give them a slice of California sports betting revenues. Initiatives need just under a million signatures to make it onto the ballot.
California a key sports betting market
Elsewhere, BetMGM said California was “one of the most important betting markets in the world.”
CEO Adam Greenblatt added: “As we’ve seen in states where BetMGM currently operates, regulated sports betting brings in tax revenue that supports important causes – in this case finding solutions for homeless and mental health support.”
California is potentially the largest sports wagering market in the US. It boasts more than 40 million residents and a robust sports ecosystem.
Eilers & Krejcik projects retail-only sports betting would generate $200 million for the state. An expansion to online sportsbooks could increase sports betting revenue to $503 million.
Fighting on multiple fronts
US sportsbooks are fighting a similar battle for a mobile wagering ballot initiative in Florida. Tribal gaming interests largely control that market as well.
Subsequently, Eilers analyst Chris Krafcik warned it would be a “very expensive” campaign in both states against “well financed and deeply entrenched” opposition.