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California Online Sports Betting Lacks Voter Support, Poll Claims

California Online Sports Betting Lacks Voter Support, Poll Claims article feature image
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Rob Leiter/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Dodger Stadium.

A majority of California voters oppose statewide online sports betting, according to a poll released by native tribes trying to block commercial operators in the state.

Fifty-three percent of voters said they oppose the ballot initiative initiative backed by FanDuel DraftKings and BetMGM, with 10% undecided according to FM3 Research, which surveyed 1,094 Californians likely to vote in the November statewide election, on behalf of a coalition of Native Tribes.

Their measure is one of four competing legal sports betting initiatives pending a spot on the ballot, which has turned the election into a fight for control between tribes, cardrooms and commercial operators. 

So far just the commercial and main tribal measure have gathered at least 25% of signatures needed to qualify, according to the Secretary of State’s office. They have until June 25 to collect 997,139 total, but campaigns must send counties their current totals by April 26.

Poll Disputed by FanDuel, DratKings and BetMGM

Voters were most concerned with online sports betting’s impact on addiction and ceding revenue to out-of-state companies, according to the poll.

Those results would indicate a decline from the 62% of voters who said they’d vote yes, in a poll commissioned by the commercial operators last year.

“Our measure is proving to be incredibly popular with Californians — as both our polling and progress collecting signatures underscore,” said Nathan Click, a spokesperson for the commercial campaign.

The FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM-backed measure would legalize online sports betting statewide under both major gambling companies and the tribes. It would also direct funding toward homelessness and mental health programs.

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Competing Ballot Measures

The main tribal competing measure, the California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative, would also legalize sports betting, but restrict it to tribal lands, meaning no mobile apps.

A second tribal measure comes from three of the state’s casino owning tribes. Like the DraftKings and FanDuel initiative, it would legalize online sports betting, but give tribes 100% control. 

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.

Like in many other states, legalizing sports betting in California requires a conditional amendment, which can only be done through voter referendum.

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