Why California Might Become America’s new sports betting capital

Barely two years after the U.S. Supreme Court gave individual states the power to regulate sports gambling across the country, voters in California might be asked to join their counterparts in 14 other states by making it legal to money on athletic contests in the Golden State.

Last week, a coalition of 18 Native American tribes surprised everyone by extracting the approval of the state for the circulation of its petition. If approved, the petition would result in a ballot that would give the California voters a choice to legalize sports betting at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks.

However, since the proposal eliminates internet and card clubs from the list of facilities where sports gambling would become legal, it is being vehemently opposed by card clubs. They are supporting another proposal that is currently under consideration in the Legislature of California, and which, if approved, would legalize sports gambling at a relatively large number of facilities.

History of Legal Gambling in California

Provided the California voters give their blessing to either of the two proposals mentioned above, it won’t be the first time that they’d be throwing their weight behind legalized gambling. In 1984, the state’s constituents gave their assent to the creation of a statewide lottery. Fourteen years later, they used ballot measures to authorize the operations of tribal casinos in the Golden State.

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How would California benefit from legalizing sports betting?

Any state that decides to legalize gambling rakes in two types of revenues: gross and tax. On the former count, the Golden State could collect $2.5 billion in revenue. In terms of tax revenue, meanwhile, its earnings could be anywhere between $250million and $500million, depending on the tax rate.

Which ballot measure is more likely to succeed?

Two factors make it more likely for the ballot measure proposed by the tribe owners to succeed. First, they have astronomical wealth, one which they have used in the last few years to garner support for their petition by creating the ‘Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering.’

Secondly, their political influence is also impeccable. The tribe owners have dug deep in their even deeper pockets in recent years to not only lobby the state government but also contribute towards the campaigns of the legislators that sit in the corridors of power in the Golden State. 

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