Signature Verification Going Well For California Online Sports Betting Initiative

Written By Matthew Kredell on June 15, 2022 - Last Updated on June 17, 2022
CA online sports betting ballot measure

With two weeks remaining to verify signatures, the California online sports betting initiative backed by operators is on pace to qualify.

To make the November ballot on a random count, the initiative needs to show a projection of 1,096,853 valid signatures.

As of a June 9 update from the CA Secretary of State, the California Solutions to Homelessness & Mental Health Support Act was on pace for 1,170,498 valid signatures.

“We are beating every benchmark,” said Nathan Click, spokesman for the operator campaign. “Our measure will appear on the ballot in November. Californians are excited by our initiative and the meaningful solutions it would provide the state. It’s the only sports betting measure that would provide hundreds of millions of dollars each year to fight homelessness and support mental health and addiction treatment.”

How a random count works

When the operators campaign submitted signatures May 3, they went to 58 counties across California for review.

Election officials for each county review petitions from voters registered in their region. Election officials randomly select 3% of signatures, or a minimum of 500. From the validity percentage of those signatures, they extrapolate how many of the signatures submitted to the county are likely valid.

Making the ballot for a constitutional amendment requires only 997,139 signatures. However, qualifying on a random count necessitates showing 110% of the required total.

So far, the operator initiative has a 74.61% validity rate on a random count. Counties to complete their counts project a total of 578,799 valid signatures.

There are still about 740,000 signatures outstanding from counties yet to complete their checks. This includes 418,053 from Los Angeles County, 134,833 from San Diego and 116,277 from Riverside. Counties must complete signature checks by June 27.

What happens if initiative doesn’t qualify on random count

Not qualifying on a random count would be disastrous for the operator initiative. Falling between 95% and 110% of the required signature total triggers a full count.

Initiatives must qualify for the ballot 131 days prior to the next statewide general election. Counties wouldn’t finish the full count until after the deadline to qualify for the November ballot.

Therefore, a full count could only qualify the operator-backed California online sports betting initiative for the 2024 election.

Last year, the tribal in-person sports betting initiative failed on random count before gaining approval on full count. However, facing pandemic issues with vote gathering, the tribes submitted about 140,000 fewer signatures.

It appears the operator initiative is on its way to qualifying for the November ballot by random count.

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Matthew Kredell

Matthew has covered efforts to legalize and regulate online gambling since 2007. His reporting on the legalization of sports betting began in 2010 with an article for Playboy Magazine on how the NFL was pushing US money overseas by fighting the expansion of regulated sports betting. A USC journalism alum, Matt started his career as a sportswriter at the Los Angeles Daily News and has written on a variety of topics for Playboy, Men’s Journal, Los Angeles magazine, LA Weekly and ESPN.com.

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