California Online Sports Betting On November Election Day Ballot

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on June 28, 2022
california sports betting ballot

It is now confirmed. The initiative to legalize California sports betting, including mobile and online wagering, will be on the ballot for voters to decide in November. The state with the largest population in the U.S. might soon have access to legal sports betting. More details below.

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Ballot Initiative

Now that this petition has received the required number of signatures to make the ballot, the initiative will give voters the chance to decide. From there, a simple majority will need to approve the initiative to start the process towards a legal sports betting market.

There is a competing initiative from a group of Native American tribes seeking to limit sports betting in the state to casinos and horse tracks on tribal lands, but that would not enable the private sportsbook apps to operate in California.

This initiative would enable California to follow in the footsteps of New York and Ontario sports betting and see the full benefits of a legal, regulated sports betting market and national brands finally enter California, providing choice and competition to consumers.

Prospects

This proposition should not have overwhelming opposition on a partisan basis – a UC Berkeley/LA Times poll has sports betting in general winning a ballot test 45% to 33%, with 22% undecided. That said, there’s little partisan split, with the measure winning with Democrats, Republicans, and voters with no indicated preference.

Fortunately for proponents of sports betting, the initiative has earmarked 85% of the revenue raised for public housing, a way to get Democrats in a state with skyrocketing housing costs to vote for it.

The big North American sportsbooks – FanDuel and DraftKings, namely – have backed this initiative, trying to get access to the biggest market in North America. In 2020, Prop 22, which saw huge spending by Uber (amongst others) passed in large part because of an onslaught of spending, which will come here as well.

Opposition will be concentrated around tribal groups, who want to be able to control sports betting in the state, and those who oppose sports betting on a moral level. Proponent arguments about unregulated offshore books and the benefits of legalization will be crucial.

All in, the voters support the idea in theory. There’s millions in sportsbook money waiting to advertise for legalization, and the proponents are tying legalization to affordable housing, a very necessary investment in California these days.

It looks very possible that we could see legal sports betting in California in the coming years.

How Soon Could California See Legal Betting?

When Colorado passed their legal betting ballot initiative in November 2019, their legal sports betting market went live May 1st, 2020. With no firm timeline, that could be a reasonable projection.

That said, Colorado had to do this without a roadmap of other states; whereas, California has a wealth of knowledge to lean on now. While this NFL season is likely off the table, getting that timeline sped up could enable legal sports betting for events like The Masters, the NHL playoffs, and the NBA playoffs, all of which start in April.

If the initiative is successful, it’s likely that it would come into effect in the early part of 2023, not in time to bet on the Rams or Chargers but likely in time to bet on any Lakers, Clippers, or Warriors playoff games that may end up on the calendar.

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