The Big One is Coming: California to Vote on Legal Sports BettingCalifornia
Many states have put up impressive numbers in just a few short years of legalized sports betting. But, none have the potential that one state presents for the industry — California.
In November, almost four-and-a-half years since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned PASPA, voters in California will be deciding whether the state will move forward with legalized sports betting.
If it’s passed in full, many experts believe California has the potential to bring in billions of dollars in sports betting revenue every year.
California’s Ballot Initiatives
California has a different voting system than a lot of other states in America have. Groups and individuals have the ability to propose amendments to the state constitution or new laws without gaining the support of either the state Legislature or the governor.
It’s called ballot initiatives. Individuals can write an initiative draft, submit it to the state Attorney General for office review and then circulate the petition. For an initiative petition to be officially placed on the statewide election ballot, it must get the signatures of at least 5% of the total number of people who voted in the state’s last gubernatorial election.
Two such initiative petitions regarding legalized sports betting met that threshold and will now appear on November’s ballot. The most recent one, which was certified to have more than 1.6 million signatures earlier this week, would legalize online sports betting in the state.
The first initiative petition would legalize sports betting in California as well, but would limit it to in-person betting at horse tracks, tribal casinos and other facilities.
To pass, more than 50% of voters need to support the initiative at the poll. Recent polling, according to the Regional Task Force on Homelessness San Diego, suggests that 59% of California residents support online sports betting.
The online petition would send 85% of the tax revenue from sports betting to programs supporting mental health and homelessness, with 15% going to tribes that choose not to participate. The initial estimates for tax revenue total $500 million each year.
Much has been written about how much of a gold mine legalized sports betting has been inNew York, and for good reason. Quickly after finally allowing online sports wagering, New York set new records for sports betting handle.
California has the potential to crush even those very impressive records that New York set. The Golden State has roughly 39 million residents compared to “only” 19 million for The Empire State. That more than double the total number of residents.
Plus, California residents love their sports. The state is home to three NHL franchises, five MLB franchises, three NFL franchises and four NBA franchises, not to mention three MLS franchises and numerous major universities including UCLA, USC, Cal and Stanford.
In other words, there’s a huge potential market for sports bettors in California. That’s what has so many people in the sports betting industry so exciting over the prospect of the state finally legalizing sports betting in all forms.
California is America’s golden goose of sports betting. Come November, it may finally get the go-ahead directly from the state’s residents.