It’s official: Legal sports betting won’t be coming to California anytime soon.
As predicted, voters rejected both California sports betting propositions at the ballot box on Election Day. And Proposition 26 and Proposition 27 weren’t just beaten. They were crushed.
A huge but expected defeat for CA sports betting
Prop 26 would have legalized in-person sports betting at California tribal casinos and select horse racing venues. It also would have legalized dice and roulette at tribal casinos and allowed tribes to pursue lawsuits against California cardrooms.
Prop 27, meanwhile, would have brought online sports betting to California. The measure backed by operators such as DraftKings and FanDuel was marketed as a plan to help solve California’s homelessness and mental health crises.
Both elections were called by NBC News with less than 30% of votes counted. At that time, more than 84% of voters had rejected Prop 27, while more than 71% of ballots were no votes against Prop 26.
The losses by these initiatives did not come as surprises. Tribes backing Prop 26 shifted their attention (and money) to campaigns against Prop 27. As a result, operators essentially conceded defeat weeks before the election, when they cut off advertising spending for their own proposition.
The two defeats come after the most expensive ballot initiative contest in U.S. history. More than $458 million was spent in campaigns for and against Prop 26 and Prop 27. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who stayed silent on sports betting for months before opposing Prop 27 in October, cruised to re-election.
What’s next for sports betting in California?
Expect at least one sports betting initiative to be on the ballot in 2024. Southern California’s San Manuel tribe has already attempted to get a proposition in front of voters. However, their signature-gathering efforts left them about 33,000 voters short of that mark.
Stay tuned to PlayCA for more on the election, and what could be in store in the months and years ahead.