The most attempted ballot proposition gamble in U.S. history failed on Tuesday, November 8th, as California voters rejected sports betting initiatives by Native American tribes and the gaming industry by a large margin.
In recent years, intense competition to tap into the billion-dollar gambling market of America’s most populous state has raised nearly $600 million. However, most voters did not agree with that plan of action.
Although largely supported by gaming companies, only 16% of the 4.6 million voters approved the measure that would have allowed adults to gamble on mobile devices and online. Those who agree must read here the guide to California legal sports betting sites in order to get an overview of the current laws around gambling options in California.
What were the options for voting?
The results in California oppose the country-wide sports betting trend since the U.S. The Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports betting in 2018, which caused quite a stir.
The California sports betting ballot measures included one backed by renowned legal sports betting entities FanDuel Sportsbook, DraftKings, Penn National, WynnBet and BetMGM. If this proposed measure had passed, mobile sports betting would have been allowed in the state, and $500 million would have gone towards fighting California’s homelessness crisis. The other option, backed by the tribal casinos, would have allowed retail sports betting only at Tribal casinos and four-horse racing tracks.
Why did people vote “no”
The campaign to make sports betting legal in California raised and spent more than double the record amount Uber, Lyft, and other app-based ride-hailing and delivery services spent in 2020 to stop drivers from becoming employees eligible for benefits and job protection.
Although gambling is restricted in California, more than 30 other states have legalized sports betting. In California, the only places people can gamble are at Native American casinos, horse tracks, card rooms and through the state lottery.
The race was shaped by ad campaigns from both sides, each touting the benefits of their respective measure. However, these were met with strong opposition campaigns that warned of the dangers posed by the other side’s initiative.
Tribes who were against Proposition 27, the gambling expansion measure, said voters didn’t want a massive gambling increase. They feared it would be easier to develop an addiction and feared children would place bets on devices.
Anthony Roberts, tribal chairman of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, said that “for years now,” their internal polling has shown that California voters do not support online sports betting. Roberts continued by saying that voters are concerned about turning every cellphone, laptop and tablet into a gambling device, resulting in addiction and exposure to children.
Voters did not want to pass Proposition 26, which would have allowed casinos and the state’s four-horse tracks to offer sports betting in person. Opponents said this would only enrich wealthy tribes who would get a virtual monopoly on gambling. They added that these same tribes could also offer roulette and dice games at their gaming operations.
The No on Proposition 26 Campaign, which was mostly funded by cardrooms that would be negatively impacted if the measure passed, said in a statement: “Prop. 26 was not just a sports betting measure, but rather a massive expansion of gambling by five wealthy tribes that included a poison pill aimed at taking market share away from highly regulated cardrooms.” They went on to explain that this “poison pill” would permit tribes to sue their competitors, such as other cardrooms.
How would sports betting benefit California?
Even though California has 69 licensed tribal casinos, 84 licensed card rooms, four horse racing tracks that allow pari-mutuel wagering, and 23,000 lottery retailers, according to the nonprofit news source CalMatters, the state’s sports betting measures were defeated by voters. According to experts, California – with its population of 38 million people – could make $3 billion in revenue from sports betting if mobile sports betting became available in the state. Betters could receive sign-up offers, like BetMGM’s bonus code which gives a $1,000 risk-free bet or Caesars Sportsbook promo code, which provides $1,250 in first bet insurance.
For now, though, Californian sports bettors must travel to neighbouring states like Arizona, Nevada or Oregon to place their bets legally. After the two ballot measures failed, analysts predict that any subsequent attempt to legalize sports betting in California would have to include the Native American tribes that have historically had control over gaming in the Golden State.
Despite the defeat of California’s sports betting measures in the recent election, many experts believe that there is still a strong possibility that this form of gambling could be legalized in the state in the future. For this to happen, however, it will likely require a compromise between lawmakers and tribal gaming interests. Some potential benefits of legalizing sports betting in California include increased revenue for the state and new opportunities for bettors to gamble legally. However, concerns about addiction, child protection, and competitive fairness must also be addressed. Until these issues are resolved, it seems likely that Californians will continue to place their bets at casinos and other licensed gambling establishments outside of the state.