California voters are openly considering the possibility of legalizing betting on college and professional sports. Just shy of half of those surveyed in this poll by Berkeley University said they were sure about their stance on legalizing sports betting. This finding will be used to guide the multi-million-dollar political race in November and push Californians to the continued use of offshore betting sites.
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Sponsored by the Los Angeles Times, the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley released a poll that found that 45% of California voters support amending California’s Constitution in order to allow California sports betting. One-third of voting against the effort. More than one in five respondents, however, remained undecided.
The poll did not ask voters to give their opinion on how California should legalize betting. The topic could see up to three ballot measures in November. Each measure would have a different business plan. Rivalling promises to spend record amounts to help their bills win the election.
Mark DiCamillo was the survey director at the institute. “It’s anybody’s guess right here how an initiative will fare,” he told the LA Times. “They might win if there’s a benefit to [the] government and no harm for the greater population.”
Since 2018, the US Supreme Court squashed a federal statute that barred all states, except Nevada, from establishing legal sports betting operations in California. However, several attempts have been made to legalize it. At the time, New Jersey was attempting to increase the fortunes at its Atlantic City racetracks and casinos by bringing a legal challenge.
Four years later, this industry has reached peak performance. US sportsbooks has been legalized in over 30 states. This includes all of the states that are bordering California. However, California is thought to be the most lucrative market for sports betting in the US. An analyst at a national casino research firm told us last fall that California sports betting could bring in more than $3 billion per year in tax revenue if legalized.
According to the Berkeley survey, legal sports betting groups will start the campaign season much more strongly than those opposed. Few voters in California were opposed to legalizing sports betting. Both Republicans as well as Democrats had roughly equal support for the poll.
Eric Schickler co-director of the institute said, “It is rare these days for a politically important issue to not be considered partisan.” “But legalizing betting on sports in California seems like one of them, at the least for the moment.”
One ballot measure for legalizing sports betting in California has qualified for the Nov.8 elections. Two more proposals are being backed by supporters who are collecting votes in order to be eligible. Under state law, ballot initiative backers can withdraw their measure anytime prior to the deadline of June 30, according to the law.
The three proposals for betting on sports would present an intricate web of public policy issues and political power.
The measure that qualified has been drafted in late 2019, and was submitted by the chairmen of four of California’s most profitable Native American tribes with gambling interests. It seeks to allow in-person gambling at tribal casinos, horse racing tracks and racetracks throughout the state. In addition to funding enforcement and treatment programs for gambling addiction, it will impose an additional 10% tax on those operations.
A large coalition made up of horse racing and tribes contributed money to qualify this measure. The Agua Caliente Band of Indians Palm Springs and Barona Band of Mission Indians Lakeside have been the recipients of the largest donations.
Card Club operators object to the measure because it contains a clause that could allow club employees, among others, to file civil suits against the companies. Their campaign committee includes significant contributions from the California Commerce Club as well as the Gardens Casino, both in Los Angeles County.
Online betting is prohibited by the initiative, as it is one of the most lucrative areas of the rapidly growing industry. Californians are being encouraged by television ads to log-and place bets. However, state law prohibits them from placing wagers on the outcome at any sporting event. A coalition led by national gaming firms DraftKings/FanDuel filed another initiative to allow online betting. Large licensing fees were collected that would finance new programs for homelessness and mental healthcare in the state.
Nathan Click, a representative representing the initiative sponsored and funded by online gaming companies, stated that this measure is the best. It would provide millions of dollars each year for solutions to homelessness as well as mental health support. “We found Californians are enthusiastic about this measure and the housing, mental health and other benefits it would bring to the state,” said Nathan Click.
Representatives of other California online gambling campaigns did not respond.
None of the proposals allow bets to place on sports games that involve high school athletes. But legal bets could still be placed on college tournaments in which these teams participate, so long as they aren’t on the outcome for a game involving an intrastate team.
Native American tribes express concern at the arrival of national online casino powerhouse companies. A new coalition of tribes submitted a second initiative in December. This would allow tribal casinos the ability to add online betting operations. Also, it would provide a similar injection of cash for homelessness programs and health programs.
The campaign that lies ahead will likely be expensive. DraftKings and FanDuel launched their campaign last year with $100,000,000 in contributions from various national gambling platforms. San Bernardino County’s San Manuel Band of Mission Indians is leading a group that has raised over $40 million this year in support of the DraftKings proposal.
Kathy Fairbanks is a spokesperson of the in-person betting measure that qualified on the ballot. She stated that campaign surveys showed that Californians were not likely to support legalizing internet gambling.
“Our polling consistently reveals strong support for tribal casinos’ in-person sport gaming and strong opposition against online sports betting,” she stated.
California voters will face competing propositions regarding the same topic in the future, but they have rarely faced campaigns with such high funding. DraftKings and FanDuel backed the ballot measure. It includes a provision that says the constitutional amendment and original tribal proposal could be both made into law.
47% of those surveyed in the poll indicated that they either have some or very limited interest in professional sports. This may explain the somewhat restrained support for legalizing betting on it.
DiCamillo told the LA Times: “If you’re an avid sports fan, you feel the whole of the world is made up of sports fans.” “They have to convince the people who aren’t sports lovers if they want their initiative to pass.”