California voters rejected the two measures seeking to legalize sports betting in the state with a sound majority, although Native American tribes and online gambling operators have spent record amounts to promote the initiatives.
According to reports, that was the most expensive US ballot measure ever, with a total of over $570 million being spent by all parties involved. The staggering investment pretty much reflects the billions that were expected to be generated as revenue as a result of the legalization of sports betting in California.
Despite all the efforts and money invested by the proponents of the new form of gambling to make sure sports betting will make its way to the massive Californian market, both measures were expected to fail after early polls showed that the local residents support neither one of the initiatives.
Proposition 26, which sought to allow only in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, received only 29.6% “YES” votes. The measure was turned down with 70.4% “NO” votes on the latest ballot.
The other sports betting measure – Proposition 27 – which would have officially allowed sports betting operators to partner with a local tribe and offer mobile sports betting services to Californian residents received a whopping 84% “NO” vote, while the supporters of the proposition represented only 16% of the overall votes.
Proposition 26 and 27 Turn Out Unsuccessful Despite Massive Investment in Promotional Campaigns
So far, more than 30 US states have passed some form of sports betting after the 2018 decision of the Supreme Court to allow the new form of gambling in the country, giving the chance to each state to individually decide whether or not to open the door to sports betting. According to preliminary estimates provided by Morgan Stanly, the US sports betting industry is set to expand to $12.8 billion by 2025.
As previously revealed, a coalition of 30 tribes pushed Proposition 26 on the November ballot as a step forward for the state of California. The measure sought to authorize sports betting at tribal brick-and-mortar casinos but faced criticism for inserting provisions that would have made it difficult for the major tribal casino rivals – card rooms – to survive financially.
Proposition 27, on the other hand, was widely supported by online sportsbooks that pretty much brought it to the state ballot. Three Native American tribes with small gaming operations also backed it. The measure would have generated up to several hundred million dollars a year in state revenue in case it was legalized.
At the time when the early results were unveiled, some local officials commented that mobile sports betting is not really popular among Californians. They also described Native American tribes as favored stewards of gambling and praised local voters for seeing through the false promises made in the two legislative measures.