The fight for legalizing sports betting in California continues as supporters of online sports betting gather 1.6 million signatures to have a legalization measure appear on 2022’s ballot. Officials will now check the votes.
Online Sports Betting Will Help the Homeless
The legalization efforts are led by the Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support – an initiative backed by some of the biggest names in commercial gambling, including BetMGM, Bally’s, DraftKings, Penn National, Wynn, Fanatics Betting and FanDuel. Companies have poured over $100 million into the campaign, which, as the name suggests, proposes to usher in online sports betting in the state and use the taxes coming from it (10% of the operators’ revenues) to fund social initiatives. The latter will help to solve homelessness and support those who struggle with mental problems. Another 15% of the total taxes will go to California’s tribes.
Miguel Perez, executive director of the Kings Tulare Homeless Alliance, said that homelessness is a real problem in California and initiatives need crucial funding to be able to tackle the issue:
“We need permanent resources. We need permanent housing. We need statewide resources to help solve this challenge, and that’s exactly what this measure provides.”
If officials successfully validate the measure’s signatures, it will appear before voters. As per the proposal, the legalization of online sports betting will require operators to pay $100 million to apply for a license.
The Measure Has Met Fierce Resistance
The supporters of the Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support campaign have reiterated that the measure will allow only the most reputable companies to operate online sports betting in the state, thus ensuring a safe and healthy market. According to the proposal, only two types of companies will be allowed to take online sports bets: those that operate in 10 or more states or those who operate in more than five states and own at least 12 class III casinos.
However, some argued that this will allow the leaders to maintain a monopoly on the market. Despite receiving backing from some of the biggest companies around, the measure has many opponents. Others added that the funding of social initiatives with gambling money is a bad public policy.
The measure’s most notable opponents are California’s tribal operators which are running a campaign of their own. Their initiative seeks to legalize sports betting at the state’s brick-and-mortar racetracks and tribal venues.
While it’s possible for both measures to appear on the ballot, supporters of the two are wary of this scenario as it may result in both proposals failing to achieve their goals. The future of sports betting in the Golden State remains uncertain.