California Sports Betting

  • California’s voters currently have three competing sports betting initiatives to choose from, with each providing a slightly different legal sports betting market.
  • The California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act is the most likely initiative to pass, with financial support from retail giants and tied-in social solutions.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California – likely the largest untapped sports betting market in the United States – appears ready to finally legalize and regulate sports betting. There are currently several voter initiatives circulating in California that would do just that.

The California Solutions To Homelessness And Mental Health Support Act

The first and perhaps most well-known California sports betting ballot initiative is the California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act.

This proposal has received financial support tune of $100 million in campaign contributions, from commercial sportsbook operators such as FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM as well as verbal support from several California mayors.

Under this proposal, sports betting would be permitted throughout California, though non-tribal operators would have to partner with a tribal entity to operate an online sportsbook in California.

The proposal explicitly requires sports betting revenues to be allocated towards mental health and homelessness issues. 15% of revenue would also be earmarked for California tribes that are not participating in sports betting.

According to a recent poll run by UC Berkeley, 45% of Californians support the legalization of sports betting, with 33% standing in opposition.

As a result, the support for California’s growing homelessness and mental health problem could attract support even from those unsure or opposed to sports betting in California.

Legalize Sports Betting On American Indian Lands Initiative

The Legalize Sports Betting On American Indian Lands Initiative is heavily supported by California’s tribes and would allow for legal sports betting at tribal casinos and racetracks.

If this proposal were to be enacted, no other sports betting would be permitted – California’s native tribes would hold a state-enforced monopoly on sports betting.

This proposal does not call for online sportsbooks, with land-based sportsbooks being the only state-regulated option.

California Legalize Sports Betting Initiative

The California Legalize Sports Betting Initiative is primarily backed by California’s card rooms.

Under this initiative, sports betting would be available through retail operators, with online sports betting available state-wide. Professional sports stadiums would also be permitted to operate a sportsbook.

What Would The California Sports Betting Market Look Like

A state that was in a similar situation was New York, which also has a large population and passionate sports culture.

Within just one month after their mobile sportsbook launch, New York became the most lucrative legal sports betting market in the United States, largely as a result of a very competitive mobile sportsbook market.

This is a trend throughout the United States – jurisdictions with a greater number of online sportsbooks available to bettors tend to see higher revenue and handle figures. For example, New York and their robust online sportsbook industry generated a whopping $1.53 billion in sports betting handle and over $81 million in sports betting revenue in February.

If California wishes to unlock the full potential of its sports betting market, it would be wise to ensure that there are several online sportsbook options available to consumers.

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