The secretary of state’s office of California has confirmed that sports betting will appear on the state’s November 2022 ballot. The measure was promoted by a group of federally recognized Native American tribes, which collected enough signatures to ensure that it could be added to the ballot. Should voters approve the measure, roulette, dice games, and sports betting will be allowed at tribal casinos. Sports betting at privately operated horse racing tracks in certain areas will also be allowed should the measure be approved.
While this measure might appeal to fans of sports betting in California, card clubs that are not included are expected to fight to disqualify it. They consider it an attempt to monopolize the sports betting and gambling industries and run a committee called “No on the Gambling Power Grab.”
Kyle Kirkland, president of the California Gaming Association, said, “This initiative does nothing to advance sports wagering, and instead expands the tribal casinos’ tax-free monopoly on gaming and rewards those operators for prioritizing their own wealth over public health and safety.”
Potential Revenue of Legal California Sports Betting
Chris Grove, managing director for Eilers and Krejcik Gaming, estimates that the tribal measure could garner $1 billion in gross annual revenue, but allowing other casinos and racetracks to offer gambling and sports betting could bring in $3 billion.
Officials from the state Legislative Analyst’s Office estimate that the market can generate up to $500 million in taxes a year, opening the doors to an entirely new and significant source of cash for the state.
While Native American tribes have been successful in winning gambling rights in California before, there’s no telling how this effort will end. Gamblers in California want sports betting, but do they want it exclusively controlled by tribes or more open like the many states that have already legalized it? We’ll be following the story as it unfolds.