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California Sports Betting Lessons Learned in 2022 

California has long been a leader in the United States when it comes to progressive policies and forward-thinking changes. As such, many were hopeful that California residents would soon have the chance to gamble on their favorite teams and events.

The prospect of legalized sports betting in the state is exciting for those who are fans of various sports, including basketball, football, and baseball. With legal access to these gambling activities, Californians would have more entertainment options and potential financial gains from wagering on their favorite teams or players.

However, the hopes that the state has legal bets fade after the defeat of two propositions in California. This is surprising since many expected California to add to the betting euphoria like what is experienced in states like Ohio, where legal betting was launched in January 2023 and where betting companies have already started offering promotions to bettors, like the DraftKings Ohio Promo Code.

This leaves the betting market in the state closed for an extended period.

A million-dollar advertising war

California saw one of the bloodiest advertising wars in recent years between those who supported Proposition 26 and those who supported Proposition 27 to legalize sports betting.

Behind proposition 26 were California’s Native American tribal governments, who were seeking to (i) legalize sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks in California; (ii) tax profits derived from sports betting at racetracks at 10%; and (iii) legalize roulette and dice games, such as craps, at tribal casinos.

On the other hand, proposal 27 had the objective of legalizing online and mobile sports betting and was supported by large companies in the betting industry, such as DraftKings.

An estimated $450 million was spent between the parties involved, making this the most expensive ballot measure fight in U.S. history in advertising campaigns. However, these campaigns did not have the desired effect since both proposals achieved little support from the voters.

What does the future of gambling in California look like?

The only quick way for California to have legal gambling is for state legislators or voters to call a new ballot. This means that things will not be easy since the lesson learned in 2022 is that lobby groups are powerful and will do everything possible to move their agendas.

San Manuel chief intergovernmental affairs officer Dan Little told LSR that the conclusions he draws from the entire voting process on propositions 26 and 27 are that it is necessary to reach an agreement with the tribes. “The key takeaway from the election is that any future gaming expansion in California must go through the tribes,” Little told.

Caesars CEO Tom Reeg expresses a similar opinion. “I know the people that wrote Prop 27 well. They have confidence in themselves, and they’re in a very big hurry. I told them I was around for Prop 5, and everything that’s happened ever since. The tribes are undefeated against people like yourselves in this arena. So, you’re going to lose.’ I told them this,” Reeg said and added

“You’ve got to get on the same page with Indian Country if anything is going to happen in California. That’s very clear. They got poor advice. Some lobbyists told them you can go this way, do an end-around and go in for football season next year. They believed what they wanted to believe, and you saw the result.”

Some remain optimistic that sports betting in the state could launch in 2024. However, a more likely scenario is the one posed by Indian Gaming Association chairman Victor Rocha. “When will California have sports betting? My gut instinct says 4-6 years. The tribes are in no hurry. They can play defense forever,” Rocha tweeted.

2023 a new chapter

Without a doubt, in 2023, we will see a new chapter in the fight to legalize sports betting in California since neither the tribes nor the retail sports book operators want to step back.

This battle is particularly significant since California has one of the largest populations and biggest economies of any state in the U.S., which makes it a highly sought-after market for sports betting operators. With many other states having already legalized sports betting, there is increasing pressure on California to do so as well or risk losing out on potential revenue from this industry. Despite this, both sides remain at loggerheads, with no sign that either party is willing to budge anytime soon.

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About the author: Access Publishing

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Paso Robles Daily News on Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.