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The Fate of California's Sports Betting Legislation Does Not Look Good

November 4, 2022

It’s less than a week until the mid-term elections. All over the country, voters will be casting their votes for House Representatives, and Governors and Senators in some states. There will also be a lot of attention being paid to important initiatives.

In the state of California, voters will be getting a chance to determine the immediate fate of sports betting in the state. This has long been an embattled issue because certain factions within the state can’t or aren’t willing to come up with a viable solution so California residents can legally wager on sports.

A Look at the Two Ballot Initiatives

Heading into the election, there are not one but two sports betting initiatives on the ballot. Proposition 26 (the California Sports Wagering Regulation and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act) calls for the legalization of retail sports betting. However, retail sports betting would only be permitted on Native Indian lands through retail casinos that are owned and operated by the state’s Indian Tribes. The Tribes would also be authorized to start offering casino table games like craps and roulette, games that are currently banned.

Proposition takes a different approach. This initiative is referred to as the "California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act." The objective of this initiative would be to legalize online sports betting for any and all sports bettors who are over the age of 21 years old and physically located within the state of California’s legal boundaries when registering and placing sports bets. Of course, this initiative has the backing of top U.S. mobile sports betting operators like Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings. As the title of the initiative indicates, some of the state’s tax revenue would be used to address California’s homeless crisis.

The Bad News

By all indications from pollsters, it looks as though both of these initiatives will fail. The worst of the news for proponents of one or both of these initiatives is coming from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC).

According to information presented by the PPIC, less than 50% of the respondents to the issued survey stated an interest in voting for either Prop 26 or Prop 27. The current poll numbers are not encouraging at all with less than a week to go. Prop 26 is slightly ahead in favoritism with only 34% of California voters giving a thumbs up. The number for Prop 27 is significantly worse at 26%.

For what it’s worth, these numbers have been consistent over the last couple of months. That being the case, expectations are that both of these measures will go down in flames. It will be incumbent on California sports betting proponents to reload and start preparing for the general election cycle in 2024. The hope would be that possible changes in the population over the next 18 months might create an environment that would be friendlier to the concept of sports betting and perhaps online casino play in the future.

Barring a surprise, Props 26 and 27 are dead.


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