California in Red Zone for Sports Betting Ballot Initiative

Sportsbook

California is known as the Golden State because of its large population and great wealth. If California was an independent nation it would rank in the top ten of the world for its economy. Yet the political Golden Rule of the Golden State is that if it doesn’t make sense, they will do it. California has a top and bottom-heavy economy that is squeezing out a middle class that is fleeing the state in record numbers. Still, the rich seem to be perfectly fine with that state culture.

 

Because of all of the wealth in the state and its large population there is the belief that the state is leaving a lot of money on the table when it comes to sports gambling. Especially when one considers that California borders the sports gambling mecca of Nevada. With that in mind the state has an initiative underway to get sports betting on the ballot for next November. So far over 1.6 million signature have been collected.

 

Known as the California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act, a total of 1.1 million signatures are needed to get the initiative put on the November ballot. Those signatures will need to be verified by the California Secretary of State by June 30. It is believed to be a fait accompli that the initiative will succeed.

 

At the onset the initiative quickly gained industry support from DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, Fanatics Betting and Gambling, Bally’s Interactive, WynnBET, and Penn National Gaming (Bartstool Sportsbook). These groups pooled over $100 million in contributions. The one requirement is that these national operators will have to partner with a California Tribe.

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The details of the initiative show that 85% of sports betting revenue will be allocated to the California Solutions to the Homelessness and Mental Health Support Account. The stated purpose of the account is to combat homelessness and metal health issues in the state.

 

And then the other 15% of the revenue will be allocated to the Tribal Economic Development Account. That account will offer assistance to tribes in the state who are not participating in the online sports betting program. California has a total of 104 recognized tribes in the state.

 

California is the most hard-left state in the country politically. Thus, using the cause of homelessness and mental health will appeal to millions of liberal voters. Many politicians in the state are touting the continuous revenue stream that the initiative is expected to provide. In the latest state polls a total of 59% said that they support the measure with only 28% of those polled opposing it.

 

However not everyone in the state is happy about the initiative. Consider that the California Tribal representatives are staunch opponents of the ballot initiative. Instead, the tribes want to have their own control over the retail and online sports betting in the state of California.

 

The Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming represents 43 California tribes and is the lead opposition force against the ballot initiative. This group has already gotten the Tribal Sports Wagering Act approved to be put on the ballot this fall. The Tribal Sports Wagering Act seeks to legalize retail sports betting at tribal casinos and state casinos while ensuring that sports betting remains under the full control of the tribes.

 

The tribal campaign said that it will go all out to defeat the online sports betting initiative. Further, the tribes say that the online sports betting initiative will lead to a rise in underage gambling if it is approved.

 

The tribes made the point that the opposing version of what they want will turn every cell phone, laptop, tablet and gaming console into a device for sports gambling. The tribes vow a vigorous campaign to fight the corporate online sports gambling initiative.


California has an estimated 40 million residents with multiple franchise in all major sports and numerous major college sports programs. Sports gambling is seen as a gold mine for the state. Additionally, the proximity to Las Vegas is seen is an highway for billions of dollars to leave the state without its own sports betting alternatives.

 

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