The battle for the California sports betting market officially ended for now. Neither result went either party’s way, but the tribes in the Golden State may have the upper hand going into the next election.
What Proposition Had the Upper Hand?
Proposition 26 would have allowed sports wagering in tribal casinos and its four race tracks across the state. Prop 27 would have brought mobile sports betting to the state; however, both sides will have to wait.
Numerous campaigns on both sides leading up to election night, both sides spent record amounts of money. Both political parties of California and Gov. Gavin Newsom supported Prop 26 as they believed that the potential revenue generated would leave the state if the online bookmakers had a chance.
With about a third of precincts reporting at the time, Prop 27, which would have legalized online sports betting, has just 16 percent of the vote. Prop 26 received less than 30 percent of the vote as one side needed to get the majority to move on to the next stage.
Cardrooms will evade the chances of getting sued by the gaming tribes as sports betting will still be illegal in the state. Prop 27’s failure, however, is considered a victory by tribes such as San Manuel and Pechanga due to many reasons. The tribes don’t want online sportsbooks to gain access to the strong casino market in the state.
Can Online Sportsbooks Use This Time to Change Strategy?
Most of the sportsbook operators waived the white flag before election night as the early polls didn’t showcase any positive results. FanDuel and DraftKings hope to lead the charge in 2024 as the bookmakers will need new strategies.
Mark Macarro, Tribal Chairman of the Pechanga Band of Indians, stated,
“It’s clear voters don’t want a massive expansion of online sports betting, and they trust Indian tribes when it comes to responsible gaming. As tribes, we will analyze these results, and collectively have discussions about what the future of sports wagering might look like in California.”
The gaming tribes may not have won, but most of the votes were leaning their way. It’s important to understand that sports betting wasn’t one of the most important issues on numerous ballots across the United States.
Undecided voters in the Golden State likely turned away from voting “yes” on the ballots due to the constant advertisements that were airing on television and the radio.
Both sides will have to make some adjustments as neither came close to the majority. The mobile sportsbooks will have a lot of labor to do in California as it will be their biggest test in 2024.
Potential Bettors Will Have to Wait
Bettors across the state will have to wait another two years to legally bet in the state. However, the residents have several options, like offshore sportsbooks or crossing state lines to neighboring states like Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon.
For now, the neighboring states will receive major traffic from California next year for the Super Bowl and March Madness.