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Online Betting Bill to Appear on California Ballot

California voters will have the opportunity to legalize sports betting in the Golden State this fall as one, and likely two, gaming bills will appear on the ballot this November. If passed, the measure(s) would open up one of the largest, and most lucrative, online gambling markets in the United States.

If passed into law, the California Legalize Sports Betting and Revenue for Homelessness Prevention Fund Initiative would allow “qualified gaming entities” and tribal operators to offer online sports betting to California residents.

As is almost always in the case in California gambling news, the measure is heavily stilted towards tribal operators. Under the terms of the proposal, tribal operators would be looking at a $10 million license application fee, while “qualified gaming entities” (the competition) would have to pony up $100 million for the privilege of participating in sports betting.

A separate proposal, the California Legalise Sports Betting Initiative, will also appear on the ballot in November. This initiative, which is supported by tribal gaming interests, would allow tribes to offer in-person sports betting.

It’s possible that both bills pass in November and California residents would have access to in-person sports betting at tribal casinos, and many more options for betting online.

Regulated sports betting is being framed as an opportunity to tackle California’s growing homelessness problem via new tax revenue. Under the terms of the plan, operators would face a 10 percent tax on revenue and 85 percent of that sum would be used to fund programs that help the homeless.

Should California voters pass one or both of these measures, operators would certainly rush into the void to fill the demand. What impact this would have on next-door Nevada, long the gambling retreat for sports-betting Californians, could feel a major impact.