California Online Gambling Now Has 4 Ballot Initiatives

In 2021, legal sports betting in the United States accelerated as numerous states overcome legislative deadlocks, such as Ohio, which authorized online betting right before Christmas. New York did so shortly after the elections on Christmas Day. Because a state is committed to legalizing and citizens are willing to legalize, four ballot initiatives have been introduced in California to allow internet gambling.

Californians may be asked to vote on up to four sports betting propositions through November. That’s why wealthy interests, such as national sportsbooks and Native American casinos, plan to spend $200 million to persuade voters to accept or reject their specific proposal.

The Initiatives

One of the initiatives comes from online bookmakers, including BetMGM, who want to enter California for the first time and offer online betting. The bill mandates these businesses to work with tribes, and advocates claim voters can approve both the account and the tribes in person. The majority of the state’s profits would go to homeless relief and the tribes. According to the Office of Nonpartisan Legislative Analysts, it would also allow betting on non-sporting events such as awards and video game contests, but not on youth sports or elections.

Fans, boosted by an initial $100 million from seven bookmakers, have aligned themselves with mayors of Long Beach, Oakland, Fresno, and Sacramento, as well as advocates working to combat a homelessness crisis.

Another measure that has already qualified for statewide voting, sponsored by powerful groups in California, would add sports betting, but only in person, at tribal casinos or horse racing tracks. Online betting initiatives, which are now collecting subscriptions, offer the possibility to bet anywhere via the Internet. Others provide a middle ground.

Together with New York, sports betting would be fueling a market that, according to Goldman Sachs’s recent estimates, sales might increase from $900 million now to $40 billion in ten years.

However, competing interests have frequently hampered or halted the game’s expansion in California. California arcades, which primarily operate in major cities and have a smaller selection of games, have just launched a lawsuit to have the qualified tribe measure declared unconstitutional.

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in 2018 to overturn a federal statute prohibiting commercial sports betting in jurisdictions other than Nevada, more than 30 states, including a dozen last year, have legalized sports betting. More than 20 states have been established.

Sports betting would be permitted at tribal casinos and horse tracks, according to the tribes, who are backed by a political action group that has gathered more than $13 million. The proposal, which received more than a million valid signatures and qualified for a vote in May 2021, would also allow roulette and dice games like craps.

The idea would aid in developing a new civil enforcement instrument that would allow anyone accused of engaging in illicit gambling to launch a lawsuit. This willingness to defeat the tribes and pass their sports betting initiative inspired California gambling parlors’ two different but linked efforts.

Gambling In California

California has more than 80 game rooms, ranging from pub-like establishments with a few poker tables to magnificent behemoths with 270 tables, restaurants, and several ATMs.

The latest online and face-to-face game support initiative is supported by a different group of tribes, including the Banda Rincón of Luiseño Indians and the San Manuel Indian Missionary Band. Two bookmakers filed a lawsuit alleging just one issue in December because tribes are trying to add retail sports betting and more tables.

In California, gambling, particularly slot machines and blackjack, has been legal for two decades on tribal lands under negotiated agreements with the state. The state also allows gambling on horse racing tracks, which became legal in 1933, and in card parlors, whose lineage traces back to miners who played poker during the gold rush.

Any change would require constitutional amendments through an election referendum or voter-supported legislation.

Still, regardless of the outcome of the process or electoral measures, many sports and technology companies are building audiences through free games, contests, fantasy sports, and national marketing campaigns, even in states where sports betting is not yet available.

Teams like the Minnesota Vikings create fantasy games. That could have consequences in California, where there are 19 teams in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, and WNBA, by far the most of any state.


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