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There’s a lot of money being bumped into California in the push to get sports betting legalized. That’s because if the state ballot measure passes, the state could become one of the largest betting markets in the world.
Voters will make a decision in early November but lots of money has been spent. Casinos, Indian tribes, and other parties who will benefit from legalized betting have spent $364 million to help get the measure passed.
That’s the most money ever spent on a state ballot measure.
California casinos can already offer slots and table games, so they’re hungry to add sports betting to the mix.
Still, it’s not a lay-up for legalized sports betting in California, despite it being practically the only issue on which even Joe Biden and Rod DeSantis agree.
Californians Have Choices To Make
Interestingly, voters have to make a call on two competing items on the ballot. The first — Proposition 26 —will allow in-person betting at tribal casinos and horse tracks. The other option is Proposition 27, which allows betters to wager online.
Only one of these propositions can become law, which requires getting more than 50% approval from voters. If both cross the 50% threshold, the proposition with the higher approval percentage wins.
Larger tribes are pushing for the in-person option, Prop 26. This is because larger tribes already have facilities where betters would have to go if they want to place a bet. Prop 26 also gives the tribes more say in what happens to the revenue, though whatever is turned over to the state goes into California’s general fund
However, smaller tribes have partnered with online sportsbooks in a push for the online option, Prop 27. This option also sets a 10% tax rate on gambling revenue — fairly low compared to other states — and uses that money to help with homelessness and gambling addiction.
Under Prop 27, providers must be licensed in at least 10 other states and will need to pay a $100 million license fee.
California lawmakers have tried to pass sports betting legislation on their own, but have run into roadblocks, including opposition from tribes.
Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle