Voters in California will have a chance to decide whether they want to legalize sports betting. However, it will be a while before they go to the polls.
The secretary of state's office announced that supporters of the measure to legalize sports betting had enough signatures to vote on the issue in the November 2022 election. Last year, election officials in the state's 58 counties verified 1,061,282 signatures among 1,427,373 supporters. Supporters need to reach 997,139, and Wednesday is the deadline for counties to validate the petition.
"This is an important step toward giving Californians the opportunity to participate in sports betting while also establishing safeguards and protections for underage gambling," Mark Macarro, president of the Luiseno Indians Pechanga Band, said in a statement. The plan will allow for Tribal casinos offer sports betting as well as roulette and dice games, provided the tribal chief can secure a gaming pact with the state. It also allows sports betting at private speedway in Alameda, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. The state will impose a 10 percent tax on sports betting profits from racing.
Originally, the deadline for counties to verify signatures was April 22. However, registrars in Los Angeles and San Diego counties requested an extension last month. They said counties needed more time to verify signatures due to a number of issues. These include what they need to do in the governor's recall petition. As a result, a judge gave them until Wednesday to end sports betting. Five counties, Kern, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego and Santa Cruz, filed their reports on the final day.
San Diego County had to process 160,241 signatures, of which officials determined 113,274 to be valid. That's the second-largest total after Los Angeles County, where officials verified 298,504 of the 394,699 signatures submitted. Jordan Kaku, secretary of state's initiative and referendum coordinator, said in a memo that Webb will demonstrate the initiative on June 30, 2022, for next year's general election. Supporters will have the opportunity to drop out before then.
As the most populous U.S. state with 39.5 million people, California will be by far the largest and most lucrative legal sports betting market in the United States. The petition calls for casinos to conduct sports betting on "tribal lands," which would exclude statewide mobile betting. Even with California's demographic advantage, as other states that eschew mobile gaming have shown, this will still greatly impact tribal nations, races and state revenues.
California sports betting legalization passes petition, but it will take time to make a final decision
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