California resident scoops $4,000,000 but is CA sports betting on the horizon?

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A lucky California resident has won just shy of $4,000,000 with the SoCal Powerball on the last day of January. The winning ticket landed 5 numbers, with just the Powerball number missing to take the entire jackpot. The ticket, which matched numbers 1, 4, 12, 36 and 49 is now worth a healthy $3,987,249. Lottery is one of the only legalized commercial means of gambling in the state of California, and for residents of the Golden State this doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.

What happened with Proposition 26 and 27?

Commercial operators hope was dashed after a lengthy, expensive advertising campaign last year ended in crushing defeat at the electoral ballot in early November. The two options for voters were Proposition 26 and Proposition 27 and both lost heavily on vote, and the nature of the losses have undoubtedly set back those optimistic of legalization in the short-term.

California Proposition 26 was to ‘Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative’. A ‘yes’ vote would have supported the legalization of sports betting at tribal casinos and licensed racetracks in California, a 10% tax rate on profits derived from sports betting at racetracks and also would have seen roulette and dice games legalized at tribal casinos.

The result of Proposition 26 was 3,514,593 votes for ‘Yes’ and 7,129,122 votes for ‘No’, showing defeat by 66.98% to 33.02%.

California Proposition 27 was to ‘Legalize Sports Betting and Revenue for Homelessness Prevention Fund Initiative’. Prop 27 was brought by commercial operators seeking to legalize mobile sports betting statewide, but faced vehement opposition from the California tribes. A ‘yes’ vote would have supported legalizing online and mobile sports betting for persons 21 years of age or older, establishing regulations for the mobile sports betting industry, imposing a 10% tax on sports betting revenues and licensing fees, and allocating tax revenue to an account for homelessness programs and an account for tribes not operating sports betting.

The result of Proposition 27 was crushing defeat, with votes for ‘Yes’ totalling 1,906,339 and votes for ‘No’ 8,849,200 thus showing a landslide defeat by 82.28% to 17.72%.

New Jersey, Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland and South Dakota are the five states that have previously legalized sports betting through means of a ballot.

What does the future look like?

There are over 23,000 options for where Californians can purchase lottery tickets, and the jackpot for SoCal Powerball now grows to $653,000,000. There’s little wonder that commercial operators continue to aggressively pursue legalized sports betting, online sports betting and online casino gaming. There’s clearly appetite for gambling in California through legal means, yet the divide between the tribes and commercial operators is unlikely to evaporate any time soon.

The next potential opportunity for legal sports betting in California is the 2024 ballot. 2023 is likely to be a quiet one in comparison to a frenetic 2023 where ultimately the most expensive advertising campaign in ballot history ended in crippling defeat for advocates of legal sports betting.