While the country is gearing up for the November election, it seems as though Californians may have one other choice to make on the ballot and that’s whether or not to legalize sports betting in the state.
Currently, the tribes within the state are working on an initiative that would in fact legalize sports betting in their racetracks and tribal casinos. As of now, 18 tribes have created a coalition in order to get a petition approved by the public.
For the initiative to appear on the ballot in November, it will need 997,139 valid signatures. As it stands right now, the petition has 600,000 signatures with a deadline of April 21st.
All Hands on Deck
What may have seemed like an impossible task at first, to garner the almost one million signatures needed, the coalition has seen early success and still has plenty of time to reach their goal.
The petition originally started back on January 23rd, so it’s a pretty large number to have gathered in that time. In order for it to be valid, random samples need to show that there are over 110% valid signatures necessary on the petition.
The goal is for tribes to produce a petition with 1.5 million signatures so they have more than enough and the initiative will appear on the ballot.
Should the initiative meet that benchmark, the legislature will not be able to prevent it from showing up on the ballot, nor can it make any changes or amendments to it. It will be completely out of their control.
What About Mobile Wagering?
One of the big questions regarding legalized betting in California is whether or not mobile wagering should be allowed. This is something that many other states have gone ahead with, but it doesn’t seem California will follow suit.
As of now, the tribes do not want mobile wagering to be part of the deal because their research shows it’s not popular with voters. The tribes don’t want to risk losing voter support over the issue.
As per the research done by the tribal coalition, more than 65% of voters want to see sports betting allowed in the tribal horse tracks and casinos, but no online option. There were only 29% of respondents that were in favor of offering mobile sports betting. It’s clear from the numbers where the preference of the voters lay.
Jacob Mejia, a spokesman for the 18 tribe coalition, commented on the research that the tribes have gathered in regards to sports betting:
“We know from a lot of research we’ve done into this issue on public opinion that the voters are not inclined to support an expansive measure that could authorize mobile sports betting. We think the best way to approach this policy framework is a measured, comprehensive, responsible proposal, which is what we’ve got in front of voters right now.”
So the heat and pressure continues to be on the coalition as it works to secure all the necessary signatures on its petition. April could end up being a huge turning point in California’s quest to legalize sports betting.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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