Last Updated on May 28, 2021

California Sports Betting

State voters will take to the polls in November 2022 to decide the fate of California sports betting.

A California ballot measure to allow federally recognized Native American tribes to operate roulette, dice games, and sports wagering on tribal lands will be decided in the 2022 November election after receiving the necessary verified signatures, according to the secretary of state’s office.


Tribes Collect Needed Signatures for California Sports Betting

A coalition of 18 tribes in the state submitted more than 1 million signatures to place the initiative on the 2022 November election ballot. The secretary of state today reported receiving the final verified signatures needed to surpass the 997,139 total for the ballot measure to be placed on the 2022 November election ballot. If the measure is approved, Californians would be able to legally bet on professional sports in sportsbooks at privately operated horse-racing tracks in four specified counties and in sportsbooks located in tribal gaming casinos.

If approved, the bill would impose a 10% tax on sports-wagering profits. An initiative summary published on the Secretary of State’s Office website notes that sports betting in California would see millions in revenue for the state.

“Increased state revenues, potentially reaching the tens of millions of dollars annually, from payments made by facilities offering sports wagering and new civil penalties authorized by this measure. Some portion of these revenues would reflect a shift from other existing state and local revenues,” according to the summary.

The sports betting initiative would not allow for California online sports betting.

Efforts in California to legalize sports betting at the state legislative level failed in both 2016 and 2017 after supporters did not receive the necessary votes for passage.

California to Join Neighboring Arizona in Legalized Sports Betting?

California would join neighboring Arizona in legalizing sports betting if the ballot measure is approved. The U.S. Department of the Interior approved Arizona’s gaming compact with 10 Indian tribes earlier this week. The department approved the compact well ahead of its 45-day deadline, which puts the state and the tribes in an optimal position to launch its sports betting program before the NFL season begins in September.

Arizona has made rapid progress on its sports betting program since the approval of its bill and signing into law. The approved Arizona online sports betting plan allows for as many as 20 licenses, split evenly between Arizona professional sport franchises and Native American tribes in the state who have signed the most recent tribal-state gaming compact. The bill allows Arizona’s professional sport franchises to run sportsbook at their facilities and partner with online sportsbook operators.


Robert Linnehan
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