California Voters Will Weigh In on Legal Sports Betting

California Santa Monica

The expansion of betting for both New York sportsbooks and Florida sportsbooks is moving forward in a positive direction. Both of these large US markets could be up and running by the end of this year.

This leaves Texas sportsbooks and California sportsbooks as the two biggest prizes up for grabs when it comes to untapped markets. The Lone Star State still faces some strong opposition when it comes to the expansion of legal gambling in any form. However, there has been some progress in that direction in California.

All the attention on legal sports betting in California will now be focused on the general November election in 2022. The referendum vote will be tied to a proposed state constitutional amendment. The main group behind the proposal is the state’s Native American tribes with existing gaming business interests.

If successful, this initiative would pave the way for legal sports betting at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks. The interested parties were successful in gathering more than 1.4 million signatures. The secretary of the state confirmed the validity of the signatures across numerous counties.

Mark Macarro is the tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians. He made the following comments as part of a prepared statement on the matter:

“This is an important step toward giving Californians the opportunity to participate in sports wagering while also establishing safeguards and protections against underage gambling.”

The Pechanga Band is part of the Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering. There are 18 different tribes represented in this group.

More than a few sports betting industry analysts have described California as the market with the biggest potential when it comes to monthly betting volume and revenue. Projected sports betting revenues could top $1 billion on an annual basis.

This figure could climb as high as $3 billion if legal sports betting is expanded online through mobile sportsbooks apps.

  • Tipico, a big German sports betting platform, has announced intent to come to the US.
  • BetBull should be soon up and running to take real-money wagers.

New Jersey has established itself as the biggest legal market in the state, coming close to generating a $1 billion-dollar monthly handle on a few occasions.

The current opposition to the measure is not just coming from anti-gambling expansion groups. California has numerous card clubs that would be excluded from the current proposal. They formed the “No on the Gambling Power Grab” campaign in the state. This group has already raised more than $1 million to support their cause.

As the president of the California Gaming Association, Kyle Kirkland added the following insight into the matter:

“This initiative does nothing to advance sports wagering, and instead expands the tribal casinos’ tax-free monopoly on gaming and rewards those operators for prioritizing their own wealth over public health and safety.”

If the measure is approved by state voters, it would come with a 10% tax on the gross gaming revenues derived from legal sports betting at horse tracks.

Negotiations are ongoing between the tribes and the governor when it comes to the state’s share of tribal casino revenue. Right now, the proposed rate would cover all regulatory costs associated with legal sports betting.

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