How Legalizing Sports Betting In CA Will Help Tackle Homelessness

Written By Andrew Champagne on November 22, 2021

Many who oppose the legalization of gambling believe the industry sends at-risk people down the wrong path. However, one California mayor says gambling legislation may wind up helping those in need in his city.

Mayors of California support gambling

Jerry Dyer, the mayor of Fresno, has come out to support an initiative that would legalize and tax online gambling in the Golden State. He explained that revenue from the industry would go towards helping house members of the city’s homeless population.

Dyer said in an interview with Fresno ABC affiliate KFSN-TV:

“We know this is occurring underground and it is time for us in local government to be able to take advantage of those revenues.”

Homelessness calculations and revenue

Supported by the Californian mayors of Sacramento, Oakland, and Long Beach, they would dedicate 15% of revenue to the Tribal Economic Development Account.

In comparison, the other 85% would go to funding homelessness and mental health services across the state of California.

According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, California contains more than 160,000 homeless people. Far more than any other state in the U.S., New York is second at 91,271. No other state contains more than 28,000.

Dyer added in that same interview:

“This revenue source, from legalized sports betting, will be a guaranteed funding source for years to come which allows us to address our homeless issues.”

Any measure involving online gambling would be on ballots next November at the earliest. The proposal would need nearly one million signatures to be voted on, and if approved, it could go into effect in 2023.

SCA-6 Bill for in-person and online wagering

Currently, the state of California does not permit sports gambling, either online or at casinos. There was a movement in 2020 however, that saw leaders consider widespread legalization.

Senator Bill Dodd introduced SCA-6,  which opened the door for both in-person and online wagering on sports. However, opposition from Native American tribes in the state centered around the online component of the bill and the offering of banked games by cardrooms.

In addition to citing this pushback, Sen. Dodd also said the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow for sufficient input from the general public.

In June of 2020, the bill was pulled without making it out of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Proposals bring sportsbooks together

The proposal supported by Dyer and his fellow mayors this time around is one of several under consideration within the state.

California’s Native American tribes have put forth a measure that would allow limited sports betting at casinos and race tracks.

Multiple cities with cardrooms submitted a proposal to allow pro teams, tracks, and tribal casinos to launch businesses. Sportsbooks include:

  • BetMGM
  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel

All have joined forces in an attempt to legalize mobile betting statewide.

Photo by Creative Photo Corner / Shutterstock.com
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