The future of legal sports betting in California was a key issue on ballots yesterday, and voters returned a resounding “no” to in-person, mobile and domestic online sports betting in California.
Both Proposition 26 and Proposition 27 required only a simple majority to pass, but California voters have been vocal in their opposition to domestic sports betting, crushing both constitutional amendments with a convincing defeat.
Sports wagering at California tribal casinos and select horse racing venues would have been permitted if Proposition 26 had received a favorable vote. Of the two voting initiatives, 26 seemed to have the better chance and were approved by Lt. Governor, several regional Chambers of Commerce and of course Native American gambling interests.
Here’s what Proposition 26 said yesterday:
- Yes – 29.3% – 1,534,021 votes
- No – 70.7% – 3,692,656 votes
Following the momentum of Prop 26, 27 received voting approval thanks to funding efforts from outside sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, Caesars and others who were aiming to grab a slice of the potential California sportsbook revenue pie.
If yes votes for Prop 25 had received a majority, it would have allowed online sportsbook and mobile sportsbook apps to operate in California.
Here’s how voters at the ballot box reacted to Proposition 27:
- Yes – 16.4% – 860,535 votes
- No – 86.3% – 4,374,928 votes
What’s Next for California Sports Betting?
All interested parties in California now have to go back to the drawing board and plan again. There will be no expansion of gambling in California without a constitutional amendment requiring approval by California voters.
However, it was the voters themselves who were confused with two competing factions trying to garner support for their proposal while simultaneously trying to derail the other prop.
Even before a competing proposal was introduced, voters struggled to understand the implications.
What is not up for debate is the number of dollars currently leaving the state and being spent either on offshore sports betting sites that operate abroad or on domestic books in neighboring territories.
State sports betting revenue reports show that tax collections from domestic sports betting are significant and able to cover existing budget deficits.
California is currently facing multiple environmental and infrastructure crises and could use the extra dollars that legal sports betting will bring to Los Angeles and the state’s other populous communities.
Proposition 26 and the proposed brick-and-mortar sportsbook venues would recapture a percentage of funds currently being spent overseas, but adding mobile and online options to the equation increases those collections exponentially.
Giving Californians the ability to place a mobile bet on their smartphone or tablet, or use an online sportsbook on their laptop or PC increases the likelihood that the bet will even happen.
The reason? Mobile and online sports betting reduces the need to travel to a remote location to place a bet, and also doesn’t require players to stay close to collect their payout.
Until California politicians find another way to persuade the voting public to side with them on domestic sports betting, offshore sports betting sites that operate overseas represent the only legitimate option.
Source – LA Times