California Sports Betting Amendment Would Be Likely To Pass, Research Suggests

Posted on October 28, 2019

Though a possible vote is over a year away, the prospects for a referendum on California sports betting look good. If a California sports betting amendment hits the ballot, the measure has a great chance to pass.

While that alone wouldn’t legalize wagering on sports in the Golden State, it would be an important step. Based on recent research, it seems more likely than not.

Steps leading up to a California sports betting amendment

Although the amendment has been introduced in both chambers of the California Legislature, no further action has been taken on the matter. That isn’t a sign it won’t pass, however.

The amendment, if it passes both legislative bodies by the required two-thirds margin, would also have to pass a referendum by the state’s voters. That wouldn’t take place until November 2020.

While the amount of support the amendment, at least in its current form, has in the California Legislature is uncertain, recent studies suggest the final step is more clear. Support for the legalization of sports betting in California should be strong.

Research points to broad support for legal wagering

A new study by Seton Hall University researchers shows a tremendous upswing in support for the legalization of sports betting. In about two years, support has nearly doubled.

In February 2017, the same researchers found that 46% of respondents around the nation supported legalizing sports betting. The recent study shows that number jumped to 80%.

Of the respondents from across the nation, 55% supported states making the decision to legalize sports betting on their own. While the study’s published findings do not show how many Californians were among the respondents, it would be a surprise if Californians deviated from these findings greatly.

The study found that the younger the respondents were, the more likely they were to support sports betting legalization. California has more people 37 years of age or younger than most other states, which suggests broad support for a sports betting amendment as well.

Another reason to expect success is the prominence of sporting events in the Golden State.

Sports everywhere you look all the time in California

No other state in the US offers more sports that could be wagered upon within its borders than the Golden State. For local sports betting, it truly would be a golden state.

With multiple franchises in MLB, MLS, the NBA, the NFL and the NHL along with several major-conference college teams and a WNBA franchise, sporting events are abundant any time of the year. That means more than just an opportunity, however.

Research by Kambi, a sports betting tech company, is good news as well. Kambi says sports fans are three times more likely than people who aren’t sports fans to bet on sports.

In the same way, broad interest in sports could translate to strong support for legalization. That coincides with Seton Hall’s research.

While it’s not clear yet if an amendment to allow the Legislature to legalize sports betting will be on the ballot next November, it appears as if the vote could be strong in its favor if there is.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Kansas City, Mo. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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