There was a chance early in 2020 that a sports betting proposal was set to be placed on the November ballot in California. Native American tribes in California were leading the charge to get an initiative on the ballot, but they are now turning their attention to 2022.
Jacob Mejia is the spokesman for the coalition seeking to legalize sports betting in 2020, but he has finally stated that time has run out. The coalition was tasked with collecting almost 1 million signatures from registered voters, but they fell short for various reasons.
Earlier this year, a California judge granted the coalition an extension to gather signatures until Oct. 12, and the group has been working on getting the signatures before that deadline. That deadline would only grant the coalition the ability to place the betting proposal on the ballot in 2022, though.
This has been an interesting battle and story to cover throughout the first few months of 2020, and it appeared as if California voters would get to have their say in sports betting in November. That is no longer the case, but they will be able to have their voices heard in 2022.
COVID Restrictions Limited Signature Collecting
The state of California requires any ballot measures to receive 997,139 signatures to appear on the next election. The coalition to legalize sports betting was well on their way to reaching that amount, but all progress slowed down during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mejia announced last month that the coalition had actually collected more than 1 million signatures, but the group is hoping to collect at least 1.6 million before turning in the petition. All of the signatures must be valid and from registered voters, and the group wants some wiggle room.
Lawmakers Failed As Well
Lawmakers in California also tried to legalize sports betting earlier this year, but those attempts came up short. This was not the first time that legislators have worked towards legalizing sports betting, but this was the farthest a bill had gotten.
The biggest problem for lawmakers was that they were facing plenty of opposition from tribal leaders in the state. Even though the sports betting bill that was proposed gave the license to those tribal nations, tribal leaders feared losing revenue.
Technically, lawmakers will also be able to work towards passing another sports betting bill in the next two years, but it appears that the tribal leaders have a head start.
Massive Sports Betting Potential in California
Sports betting experts believe that California could become a huge betting market if and when the industry becomes legal. The Western portion of the United States has not seen a lot of sports betting growth, which could allow California to become a leader in the industry.
California is also home to a large number of professional sports teams, and these teams would drive the sports betting market. Colorado just recently launched sports betting in May, and they have already seen huge numbers.