California’s Sports Betting Vote Uncertain Despite Success In Half a Dozen States

California’s Sports Betting Vote Uncertain Despite Success In Half a Dozen States article feature image

Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

A month before the election, there's not too much positivity surrounding California's sports betting vote, though history is still on its side.

A poll released Tuesday from the UC Berkley Institute of Governmental Studies shows only 27% of Californian voters support Prop 27, which would legalize statewide online sports betting.  An extra 53% are opposed with 20% undecided.

If those numbers hold true on Nov. 8, Californians would be the first group of state voters to reject legalizing sports betting.

Since the Supreme Court allowed states to legalize sports betting, authorizing measures have passed in each of the six states to take it to the ballot: New Jersey, Arkansas, Maryland, Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Least Biased Poll So Far

Previous polls have shown highly contradicting levels of support for both measures, which is no surprise as they were sanctioned by the groups spending a record $551 million for and against them.

Tuesday's poll of 6,939 likely California voters is perhaps the least biased study on the ballot race thus far, though it's co-sponsored by the Los Angles Times — which opposes Prop 27 and Prop 26, a competing bill for in-person sports betting at Native American casinos.

Prop 26 drew support from 31% of voters, with 42% opposed and 27% undecided, according to the survey.

Both measures can pass independently of one another provided they each surpass 50% of the vote.

Constant TV Ads a Deterrent

Voters who've been exposed to heavy advertising around both sports betting bills were less likely to support either, according to the study.

Tribal groups have spent over $228 million on the ballot race, though most of their contributions fund ads just against Prop 27, which would end their decades-long monopoly on California gaming.

“These results suggest that the sports wagering initiatives are floundering in the face of the opposition advertising campaigns," said Berkley IGS co-director Eric Schickler. "The lack of support among key demographic groups makes passage of each an uphill climb, at best.”

FanDuel, DraftKings and five other online gaming companies have spent nearly $170 million marketing Prop 27.

But according to a recent San Francisco Chroniclereport, they're to heavily curtail TV ads just a month before the election, only airing in few key markets during October.

But don't expect tribes to do the same.

In a recent twitter thread, Victor Rocha, conference chairman of the Indian Gaming Association, said tribes would be satisfied if both are defeated.

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