Online California Sports Betting Question On Track For November Ballot

Written By Brad Allen on May 3, 2022
California sports betting

California should have an online sports betting question on the ballot come November.

The CA online sports betting initiative backed by major US sportsbooks announced Tuesday it gathered 1.6 million signatures. That is half a million more than it needed to qualify for the ballot. Those signature must still be verified by state officials though.

The campaign is called Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support. It is funded by seven US sportsbooks, including:

Competing initiatives for CA sports betting

A tribal-backed measure that would limit sports betting in California to retail outlets for at least five years already qualified for the ballot.

Another proposal being advanced by cardrooms also would legalize online wagering, but that measure appears to lack momentum to gather enough signatures to make the ballot.

If legalized, California would be one of the largest markets in the US, with some $3 billion in annual revenue, per Eilers & Krejcik Gaming.

What is in online CA sports betting measure?

Those sportsbooks already committed $100 million to their online campaign. If passed, it would allow statewide mobile gaming with a 10% tax rate.

The plan also calls for a $100 million upfront licensing fee and for operators to be licensed in a minimum of 10 states to be qualified.

However, the measure still faces an uphill battle. For one, opponents have argued those requirements are anti-competitive and favor the largest companies.

Tribal opposition

In a similar vein, one group of CA tribes has also pledged to spend $100 million to defeat the measure.

The tribal-backed opposition group argued online operators would “export money from California.” Another tribal group, supporting its own sports betting ballot initiative, has also pledged to spend $250 million on their campaign.

Will mobile measure pass?

Last week, a David Binder Research poll showed that 59% of Californians favored the online betting measure and just 28% opposed.

That did not change, even after simulating a ballot with multiple initiatives and a well-funded NO campaign.  

That said, another recent poll funded by tribal opposition showed a negative outlook for the online proposition.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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