Legalized sports betting is one of the fastest-growing trends since TikTok. But what’s funny is, some of the biggest and most populous states in the country don’t offer it themselves.
New York just hopped on the bandwagon a few months ago, but states like Texas and California are still on the outside looking in. And while you may assume more people would be in favor of sports betting than not, you may be mistaken.
That’s the case for California. In a poll distributed to registered voters conducted by UC Berkeley, 45% of people support legalized sports betting. 33% of respondents said they opposed it, while 22% are undecided.
When we break down this information a bit more, we find that the opinions of those polled directly correlate with their level of interest in professional sports. That should come as no surprise.
Voters who express a lot of interest in pro sports support the idea of legalized sports betting (63% yes). Those with no interest, meanwhile, aren’t as sure (33% yes). Those in support also appeared to be males, and the age range was mostly younger or middle-aged people.
Where we don’t see a trend is in political party identification. The support for sports betting in California is fairly uniform throughout.
Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies co-director Eric Schickler was surprised by this, saying:
“It is rare these days for a political issue to not be seen as partisan. But legalizing sports betting in California appears to be one of them, at least for the time being.”
What did the survey ask?
The survey presented voters with two questions, worded as follows:
- “How much interest do you personally have in professional sports, such as football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, or golf?”
- “Various groups have proposed allowing sports betting in California. Either online or in places such as in Indian casinos, racetracks and other gaming venues, and have the state tax a portion of the proceeds. If you were voting on a constitutional amendment to allow sports betting in California, would you be inclined to vote Yes or No?”
Both questions had very neutral wording. This is important because preventing biases in surveys is always a difficult task.
But at the end of the day, what matters is what is being done at the legislative level. Let’s take a look at that.
Sports betting legislation in California
In January of 2021, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber cleared a tribal-led petition drive to bring sports betting to California. Now, organizers have until a recommended deadline of April 26, 2022, to gather the 997,139 verified voter signatures needed to get the proposal on this year’s ballot.
If it gets the required signatures and passes the vote, Californians would be able to legally bet on sports through servers located on tribal land.
This is the fourth sports betting ballot initiative, and the second tribal-led initiative, proposed for the November 2022 general election.
Another proposed ballot initiative was submitted by some of the biggest names in sports betting themselves – DraftKings and FanDuel. This proposal would legalize online sports betting statewide. Through agreements with tribal casinos and their partners, everyone would share control.
As of mid-January, this initiative had only gathered 25% of the required signatures. But proponents of the bill have remained positive. They have until July 11 to collect signatures for a potential appearance on the 2024 ballot.
However, one proposal did receive all the required signatures so it will be on the ballot come November 2022. This initiative, also known as the “California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative,” would legalize sportsbooks, roulette, and dice games at all tribal casinos.
The initiative will be in front of voters despite an attempt by California cardrooms to shut it down.
What’s next for sports betting in California?
It’s hard to say–but we will for sure know more in the coming months. While these initiatives continue to garner support it’s important to remember that it all comes down to state elections in November.
So, whether you’re in favor or opposition, the best thing for you to do is vote!