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Two Sports Betting Initiatives Likely to Head to the November Ballot in California

Although it is not the only US state that has yet to decide whether to add sports betting to its legal gambling sector, California is by far the largest one of those in the country. So far, more than 30 states have legalized sports betting since the federal ban on this form of gambling was lifted by the 2018 US Supreme Court’s ruling that paved the way for the further expansion of the legal gambling industry in the country.

Now, US gaming officials have their eyes on California, especially considering the state’s potential to generate significant extra revenue if sports betting is officially legalized. According to industry analysts, the in-state market’s annual revenue could reach over $3 billion in case state voters give the green light to both in-person and online sports betting.

According to some current estimates, in-person sports betting would bring tens of millions of dollars every year to the state of California, while the addition of online sportsbook services could generate about $50 million annually.

Lately, a couple of competing ballot measures – one sponsored by many big-city mayors and one supported by a coalition of Native American tribes – have emerged in the state of California as the most likely to get to the November ballot.

Campaigners Seek Legalization of In-Person and Online Sports Betting Services in California

As mentioned above, the first legislative measure proposed as an effort to legalize sports betting in the state has already gathered enough signatures to go on the November ballot. It is backed by a coalition of over 40 California tribes and seeks to make legal in-person sports betting services offered on tribal lands. The measure would also establish 4 racetracks across the state.

Since the beginning of February 2022, the group members have invested about $22.5 million to support the measure, which addresses only in-person betting and does not aim at the legalization of online sports betting services. Under the proposed bill, all wagers would have to be placed in person at specialized and regulated establishments featuring enough safeguards to prevent illegal or underage gambling. The tribes supporting the measure also claim that, if approved, the proposed bill would help create more jobs and economic opportunities for local communities.

This proposal, however, has faced the fierce opposition of a rival ballot initiative, which is especially focused on the legalization of online sports betting in California.

The other proposal, also known as “the online proposal”, has received support from some of the largest sportsbook operators in the US, including FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM. The spokesman of the initiative has noted that the proposed measure is the only sports betting ballot proposal that would provide funding worth hundreds of millions of dollars to support mental health and homelessness reduction programs every year. He further noted that it would be hard for the state to raise taxes but “the online proposal” would create a new revenue source for California to help the local Government face some of the financial challenges ahead.

The online sports betting initiative, however, has not yet managed to qualify for the ballot in November 2022 but reports say that it is on track to do so by the deadline in May. The supporters of the measure have said they were confident that the proposed bill will manage to get the number of signatures needed to go on the ballot.

 Author: Harrison Young

Harrison Young is an experienced writer, who started his career almost 8 years ago. Prior to joining our team at CasinoGamesPro, he worked as an editor for a small magazine.