The Battle For California’s Sports Betting Future Continues

  • An initiative grants California tribes exclusive licensing for sports betting in California.
  • Opposition fears initiative could mean no online sports betting options will ever be available.
  • Newsom's recall vote could be utilized to push online sports betting legislation forward.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California lawmakers have demonstrated very little interest in providing their citizens a legal option for sports wagering so far, but this hasn't stopped The Coalition to Authorize Regulated Sports Wagering from proposing The California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative.

If passed, the initiative would see sports betting legalized at American Indian casinos and licensed racetracks in California.

Opposition to the initiative is strong however, the No on the Gambling Power Grab campaign is making active efforts to prevent the initiative from succeeding.

Their concern is that although the initiative offers California residents legal sports wagering options, it specifically localizes those options only to tribal casinos and racetracks. This means no licenses for online platform providers such as DraftKings or FanDuel.

While many residents feel that the initiative could be their best bet at seeing legal sports betting in California, opposition to the initiative is going all-in on a different possibility.

Recall And Replacement

Gavin Newsom is currently facing a recall election after California citizens collected over 2 million signatures to ensure it happened. Newsom's largest opponent, Kevin Paffrath, has vocalized his desire to see online sports betting legalized in California.

"For me, we need online, we need in-person, we need to focus on the things that make the state money and solve the problems we have," said Paffrath in a conversation with USBets.

It's still a big gamble on the part of those who oppose the initiative though. In order for online and mobile sports wagering to become a reality before 2023, Newsom's recall would have to succeed, the initiative would have to fail, and whoever replaced Newsom would have to be very passionate about pushing forward new legislation regarding sports betting.

Other Avenues For Online Sports Betting To Happen

If the initiative succeeds, it doesn't necessarily mean that online gambling will never occur in California.

New legislation could be passed later on, or a referendum to add online and mobile sports betting licenses might be proposed. Unfortunately, these possibilities almost certainly will not occur within the next three years. This means that as it stands, taking advantage of Newsom's recall vote is California's best bet at seeing any online sports betting options before 2023.