Legal Sports Betting May Be Coming to California in 2022


Initiative Qualifies for 2022 Ballot

Legalizing sports betting in the state of California has been an ongoing battle for many years. In 2022, there’s some expectation that a new ballot initiative would grant the right to offer sports betting services at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks if it becomes law in November of 2022. The initiative would also legalize roulette, dice, and craps at certain eligible tribal casinos, according to Ballotpedia.

This ballot initiative was heavily contested by several sports betting enthusiasts in the state of California because it would not allow for mobile sports betting. This means that some of the nation’s prominent sports betting platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel would not be allowed to legally offer services in California until the gaming tribes within the state are ready to make a deal. Those gaming tribes hold a lot of political influence in Sacramento.

“yes” vote supports this ballot initiative to (i) legalize sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks in California; (ii) tax profits derived from sports betting at racetracks at 10%; and (iii) legalize roulette and dice games, such as craps, at tribal casinos.

“no” vote opposes this ballot initiative, thus continuing to prohibit sports betting in California and roulette and dice games at tribal casinos.

California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative (2022)

More than $11 million has already been raised in favor of passing the ballot initiative to legalize sports betting in California. Based on early indicators, it seems plausible that the ballot initiative has a reasonable chance of succeeding and becoming law, although, with an upcoming recall election of California’s Governor Gavin Newsom, it’s unclear who might be in the governor’s mansion in November of 2022.

Recall Candidates Pushing Online Sports Betting

Several candidates running in the recall election to replace Governor Newsom have discussed the idea of pushing forward an agenda to legalize mobile sports betting across the state. There’s definitely an increase in momentum for legal sports betting in the Golden State, although an immediate pathway to legalized mobile betting seems like it could be many years away.

Currently, no forms of sports betting are legal within the borders of California. It is estimated that millions of dollars are wagered on off-shore gambling platforms every single year. With that being said, no tax revenue is being taken in because these players are placing wagers on platforms that offer services to Californians from outside of the state jurisdiction. This is one of the substantial financial reasons that it would be beneficial for the state to regulate sports bettings within its borders.

Even in a limited capacity, legalized sports betting in the Golden State has the potential to bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue to Sacramento. California is the nation’s most populous state with more than 39 million citizens and inherits the fifth largest economy in the entire world. The potential for a statewide sports betting industry in the state of California is immense.

Will the All-Important Tribal Casinos Allow Draft Kings and Fan Duel to Enter?

It’s possible that tribal casinos would be open to expanding their sports betting services to mobile platforms in the next several years. That wouldn’t be ideal for online sportsbooks that are drooling at the thought of expanding into California. It’s possible that some sort of deal could be made in the future that would allow this expansion to occur. Think cash payoffs and deals to make it happen.

All eyes will be set on California’s 2022 gubernatorial election as the California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative will be presented to voters when they receive their ballot next year in November. If the ballot initiative ultimately becomes law, the next major step would be to look forward to the expansion of sports betting services into the mobile market.

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