Last week, residents of California had a chance to vote on two measures connected to sports betting. Propositions 26 and 27 would allow varying options for players, including retail and online wagering. Despite spending hundreds of millions on lobbying, both measures failed to gain voter support. California sports betting is on the back burner yet again, a good thing for Arizona as the state will be able to continue to accept bettors from its neighbor.
California Sports Betting Rejected by Voters
After last week’s vote, California voters are not ready for sports betting. The decision was an overwhelming NO for Proposition 26 and 27. Was it due to the influx of ads or how sports betting would be operated in the state?
Proposition 26 was backed by several Native American tribes and sought to allow in-person betting at casinos operated by the tribes and horse race tracks. Early on, the measure had around a 70% opposition rate.
Proposition 27 was the online measure pushed by such brands as DraftKings and FanDuel. The measure would have allowed iGaming and saw over 80% of no votes among residents early on. Millions of dollars backed both measures, and the fight between the two was fierce.
The tribes were not ready to give up their gaming stronghold and paid a ton of cash to push their measure. The kind of money spent was outrageous, but the tribes and gaming companies wanted their voices heard. Each tried to show voters why their measure should be selected over the other.
Both seem ready to keep up the fight and will stop at nothing to see their side win. It will be interesting to see how the process will go in the future and if sports betting will become a reality for the state in the future.
Less Interest in Sports Betting?
Before the campaigns reached the $600 million expenditure mark, residents of California already seemed disinterested in sports betting. Polls were taken that showed voters were likely to say no to both measures when the vote took place in November.
Support seemed to decrease for the measures as the campaign effort continued. By early November, over 50% of voters polled said they were opposed to the idea of land-based sports betting. A higher 60% were in favor of voting no for online betting.
Why the negative approach? Are voters just not into wagering on sports? Over the past few months, ads were nonstop on the subject, some making claims confusing to voters or didn’t even mention the aspect of sports betting. Voters who saw a lot of ads on television or online were opposed to the measures more than those who were not.
It makes sense because it can be annoying to see ad after ad on the same subject, with both parties going back and forth about why their option is better, and the other is not. It seems the smart play would be to lay out what you will offer and then leave it at that. Let the voters decide if it is something they want.
Now tribes and gaming companies are out hundreds of millions of dollars without gaining anything. Both measures failed, and they will have to try again or give up. It seems the online gaming companies are ready to continue, which should mean the tribes will also continue the fight.
In the meantime, sports fans in California can travel to nearby Arizona or Nevada to place a sports bet online or in person. These states will continue to see support from its neighbor until California sports betting becomes a reality.