California Will Have Sports Betting Vote on November 2022 Ballot

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California has two competing ballot initiatives attempting to legalize some form of sports betting in the state, and petitions for both measures have reached the required number of signatures by Tuesday's deadline: 1 million.

As stated, there are two competing initiatives, each attempting to legalize online betting but with two different entities at the helm. The first initiative, backed by a good number of federally-recognized tribes in the Golden State, would legalize betting in-person at tribal casinos and race tracks across CA.

The second is geared towards existing commercial operators like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, and would form partnerships between the aforementioned tribes and select operators to offer online betting on mobile apps and websites. FanDuel and DraftKings were prime movers behind the “Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support" initiative, which will use up to 85% of sports betting revenues to help tackle CA's homelessness crisis.

The tribes sponsoring the in-person initiative are pushing firmly back against the commercial proposal: in a tribally-backed study released by a research group, 53% oppose the so-called "corporate online sports wagering initiative", citing risks of addiction and problem gambling.

A similar poll conducted by DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM found just the opposite: 58% percent of those polled do support the idea of online sports wagering offered by commercial providers.

According to DraftKings Nation, a Vox Media-backed, DK-sponsored blog:

...the proposal by the nationwide sports books was designed not to conflict so that both nationwide providers and local partners could offer mobile app-based betting to consumers.

Collin Sherwin, DraftKings Nation

The commercial, online bill has the support of a number of politicians and legislators whom are intending to point those revenues garnered from legal sports betting towards the homelessness crisis in CA: the proposal has built in an 85% revenue share for taxing online sports bets. Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer had this to say:

This ballot measure would give cities like Fresno a guaranteed funding source to address homelessness (...) To truly solve this critical issue and give those most vulnerable among us the housing, mental health and addiction treatment they need, there must be an ongoing revenue stream. This initiative would do just that.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer in a joint statement

In what could be the largest sports betting markets in the country and perhaps the world, millions are being spent on both sides to promote these two competing initiatives, which would likely be built into the language of a potential sports betting bill. Whether or not voters indicate their support in November 2022's election is another story, but it looks like the earliest date for sports betting to become legal and operational in California would be sometime in mid-2023.

Written by Chris Altman, our US sports betting industry expert.

The featured image for this post was sourced on Getty Images.