California Online Sports Betting Measure Verified by Counties, Will Appear on Ballot
Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Max Muncy & Freddie Freeman (Dodgers)
California's November election will officially feature just two ballot propositions on sports betting — online and/or in-person betting.
County election officials, on Monday, concluded verifying enough signatures for Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support, a measure to legalize online sports betting. It joins an alternative measure that would legalize only in-person betting on Native American lands.
Online sports betting would start August 2023 under the commercial measure.
With a population roughly twice the size of New York — which quickly became the top sports betting state in the country — California is considered the crown jewel of the market.
Under their ballot proposition 85% of revenue from a 10% tax would go to homelessness and mental health. The rest would go to tribes uninvolved in sports betting.
"This initiative is a critical step forward, dedicating revenue to the issue of homelessness is a win-win for our state," Tamera Kohler, CEO of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness for the San Diego area said in a a statement released by the operators. "It would provide an ongoing funding source of hundreds of millions of dollars each year to fight homelessness and provide mental health services to those most in need."
State law requires 997, 139 signatures verified by county officials via random sampling. In May, the online gaming operators submitted over 1 million signatures.
Both May Pass, But Tribes Want In-Person Only
The tribes backing the in-person only proposition have run a fierce campaign against the online measure, which exposes children to gambling. They've also described it as opening the door to out-of-state gambling companies.
“Our support of the Tribal Sports Wagering Act is consistent with our long-standing support for disenfranchised communities to become self-sufficient,” Rick L. Callender, President of the California Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP said in a statement released by Californian Indian Tribes.
Groups backing each measure contend contradictory support for online gaming. Both measures need 50% of the vote to become law.
If they both pass then online betting and in-person betting would become legal statewide.
Online betting is illegal in only 11 of the 35 states to legalize sports betting since the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on the industry.
Previous measures backed by card groups and other Native American tribes failed to submit signatures for verification.