Could California See Legal Sports Betting Passed This November?

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This November, Californians will vote on seven statewide ballot measures, the fewest in more than a century, which means Propositions 26 and 27, arguably the two most debated measures, will receive even more attention and advertisement time. If passed, each would legalize gambling in California, but in unique ways, and with different beneficiaries. To complicate matters more, voters will have four options: vote “Yes” on both, vote “No” for both, vote “Yes” on Prop. 26 and “No” on Prop. 27, or vote “No” on Prop. 26 and “Yes” on Prop. 27. Three of those options would lead to the legalization of sports betting in California, and with 15 thriving professional sports teams, many parties stand to benefit from the potentially billions in revenues generated by a legal sports betting platform.

What’s at the heart of Proposition 26?

Proposition 26, also known as the “Tribal Sports Wagering Act“, is backed by a coalition of dozens of Native American tribes. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Rincon Band of Luisueño Indians and the Wilton Rancheria form the Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming Committee to put forth this proposition to make sports betting legal only at tribal casinos and four horse racetracks.

It imposes a 10% tax on sports bets at horse racetracks, for California state to spend on gambling addiction and mental health programs, enforcement of gaming laws, and for the state’s general fund.

What is Proposition 27?

Proposition 27 is also known as the California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act. If passed, the proposition will create the Division of Online Sports Betting Control within the California Department of Justice. The CA DOJ will then have authority to regulate online sports betting in California.

Passage would also create the California Online Sports Betting Trust Fund, which would have revenues come in from licensing fees, renewals, and the new sports betting tax – currently, a 10% tax. It will funnel 85% of that fund for mental health treatment and homelessness programs. The remaining 15% would go to tribes that do not participate in the gambling industry via the Tribal Economc Development Account.

The plan would require online sportsbooks to partner with tribes if they want to launch in California. Gaming companies must partner with a tribe, and pay a $100 million licensing fee and a $10 million renewal fee every five years.

This has earned the support of some tribes like the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians, the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians and the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe who have all backed it.

Proposition 27 is opposed by the California Teachers Association as well as the California Democratic Party, both of which believe it will take money from tribal-owned in-person casinos.

Voter Options:

Option 1: Vote “Yes” for both Prop. 26 and Prop. 27

Vote “yes” to both, which would cause a legal challenge by tribal leaders and potentially lead to a lengthy battle in the courts, likely delaying sports betting in California if the vote is close.

Option 2: Vote “No” for Prop. 26 and no for Prop. 27

This is clear-cut. Vote “no” to both if you do not want legal sports betting in California.

Option 3: Vote “Yes” for Prop. 26 and “No” for Prop. 27.

This translates into a vote for retail-only sports wagering. That would lead to a small industry, with only retail betting permitted at tribal casinos and racetracks.

Option 4: Vote “Yes” for Prop. 27 and “No” for Prop. 26:

This is vote in favor of online sports betting only. If Prop. 27 passes, that would result in mobile apps launching across the state to permit sports betting for anyone 21 and older. You can then claim large welcome offers thanks to sportsbook promo codes and place bets quickly and conveniently from anywhere in California.

Bottom Line:

When in 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated the federal prohibition on sports wagering, the floodgates opened, allowing states to individually legalize and regulate sports betting. After four years of debate, lobbying, and narrowing down their options, California voters now face important decisions about the future of gaming in their Golden State. Propositions 26 and 27 are to be decided on by voters on November 8, 2022 in the California primary election.

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