California Online Sports Betting Initiative gets 1.6 million Signatures
California Online Sports Betting Bill receives 1.6 million Signatures, will appear on November Ballot
Supporters of a ballot to legalize sports betting revealed that they had collected 1.6 million signatures to get the question on the ballot. Because the tribal casinos in the state already have a question on the ballot, things could get interesting as the two separate groups compete for control of what is likely to be the most lucrative sports betting markets in the United States.
National Operators push for California Sports Betting
A selection of national sports betting operators, including market leaders FanDuel and DraftKings, has started the “Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support.” The scheme has been backed by $100 million from national sportsbooks. This ballot measure was first announced in August and was approved to circulate petitions last fall.
If the movement receives enough signatures and gets approved by voters, commercial sportsbooks would be permitted to operate in the state. A total of 85% of the tax revenue generated would go to communities for the homeless population and mental health services.
The remaining 15% of the tax revenue would be distributed to the Tribal Economic Development Account, which provides assistance and economic development to tribes in the state who don’t get involved in online sports betting.
Estimated Financial Impact for California
According to the group of national sportsbook operators, their initiative would generate approximately $500 million per year using the 10% tax rate. On its own, California would become the fifth-largest economy globally, with a 2021 $3.36 trillion gross domestic product that surpasses countries like the United Kingdom, France, and India.
New York has experienced massive success since bursting onto the sports betting scene in the last few months, with a handle of over $1.5 billion in the opening three months of 2022. California has a population of over 39 million, so it is not unlikely that it could double that number each month and become the most lucrative market in the country.
Next steps in California
According to a poll from David Binder Research, around 59% of Californians surveyed approve of the measure for sports betting, with 28% opposed. However, in a separate survey, the Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming found that only 36% of Californians support online gaming.
If the “Californians for Solutions” ballot is confirmed to have the required signatures, it will appear on the state’s ballot on November 8. Any new measures have until June 25 to qualify for the ballot. One crucial aspect to consider is that both the online and retail (tribal) sports betting initiatives can be passed if they get 50% or more “yes” votes in November.
Even if any measure gets approval in November, the start of the 2023 NFL season would be the most realistic start date for any online sports betting industry in California. This is due to the regulatory process and all operators completing their preparatory work.
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