California Sports Betting Group Gets 1.6M Signatures for Ballot Measure


Posted on: May 3, 2022, 12:02h. 

Last updated on: May 3, 2022, 02:50h.

Proponents of a measure that would legalize online sports betting in California announced Tuesday they gathered 1.6 million signatures to get the question on the ballot this year.

California sports betting
The Golden Gate Bridge at night in San Francisco. Proponents of a measure that would allow mobile sports betting in the state say they got 1.6 million signatures on a petition to put the question on the November ballot. (Image: Carol M. Highsmith/Library of Congress)

Election officials need to verify that 997,139 came from registered voters by June 30 in order for voters to decide on the measure in the November general election, according to the California Secretary of State’s office.

Should that happen, it would likely be the second sports betting question to go before voters on the ballot. That would set up what will be a hotly contested and expensive battle between national operators of online sportsbooks and California tribal casinos, the latter pushing for in-person sportsbooks at their casinos and state-licensed racetracks.

The online sportsbooks are behind “Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support.” It’s a $100 million campaign led by FanDuel and DraftKings. If voters approve their measure, it would allow commercial sportsbooks to operate in the state, provided they meet certain requirements, including payment of $100 million for a license.

Most of the tax revenue generated from commercial sportsbooks would go toward helping communities provide funding to serve the unhoused and bolster mental health services.

This ballot measure would give cities like Fresno a guaranteed funding source to address homelessness,” Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said in a statement. “To truly solve this critical issue and give those most vulnerable among us the housing, mental health and addiction treatment they need, there must be an ongoing revenue stream. This initiative would do just that.”

The measure also calls for 15% of the tax revenue to go toward tribal economic development initiatives.

Despite the outreach by “Californians for Solutions” to include tribal operators in its initiative – tribal operators could get a license for $10 million, but with restrictions – California’s Native American community has pushed back against the commercial sportsbook effort.

In addition to the promotion of the brick-and-mortar sportsbook plan, which passed last year, some tribal leaders are trying to get another measure on the ballot. That would give tribal casinos exclusive domain over mobile sports wagering.

This story will be updated

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