A statewide ballot initiative petition for legalization of sports wagering was qualified last month by California’s secretary of state after the tribes brought more than 1 million valid signatures.
The voting is said to occur in November 2022, which means California voters have to wait for 16 months to decide the fate of sports wagering in the state.
Along with large and small tribal casinos across the state, four privately owned race tracks will be allowed to operate as sportsbooks: Golden Gate Fields in Bay Area and Santa Anita and Alamitos and Del Mar in Southern California.
Privately owned race tracks will allow bettors of age 21 and above to protect underage kids from the influence of betting and gambling.
A 10 percent tax will be imposed on the sports betting revenues as stated in the referendum and will be used for funding public safety, mental health programs, education, and regulatory costs.
Does Nevada need to be worried about the referendum?
There was a time when sports wagering was legal only in Nevada, but now as many as 21 states in the United States can operate sports betting legally.
With more and more states legalizing sports wagering, there is some angst among a few Nevada sportsbooks. Still, the gaming experts and analysts believe that such legalization won’t affect Nevada’s multi-billion-dollar business.
Maryland-based sports betting consultant Sara Slane quoted, “Las Vegas’ business model is impossible to compete with; it has something that will never go away.”
Analysts believe that Nevada’s business will be unaffected by California’s competition because the referendum doesn’t allow mobile sports wagering and bans betting on games involving California Colleges and Universities.
Nevada’s dominance has been such that its sportsbook took in $5.139 billion in wagers, which is an all-time high for ten consecutive years. In addition, revenue from those wagers has reported a total of $329.1 million, which is a single-year record.
Nevada did witness their first annual decline in sports with the ongoing pandemic in more than a decade.
However, currently, according to the Gaming Control Board, some of the best sportsbooks in Nevada have reported revenue of $150.8 million in the last four months, which is a 44% increase over 2019.
Is California the Next Big Thing?
Sports betting analysts view California as the juggernaut, as it is the most populous state and is home to more than a dozen teams of four major professional sports leagues.
Experts believe that the addition of California to the roster of legal sports betting will put a dent in illegal offshore sports betting.
But for now, everything is too early to confirm as players can’t be placed bets until 2023.