California voters reject moves to legalize sports betting


SAN FRANCISCO — The defeat of two proposals in California, according to an Associated Press appeal, keeps America’s biggest market closed to legal sports betting. The measures would have earned gaming companies billions of dollars in revenue, according to some estimates.

Proposition 26, backed by dozens of Native American tribal governments in California, would have legalized sports betting at tribal casinos, while also allowing them to offer craps and roulette. It was opposed by cardroom operators, who were concerned about a provision allowing individuals to bring civil suits against card clubs over disputes in state gaming law.

Proposition 27 would have legalized online and mobile sports betting. It’s been put on the ballot by sports betting companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel, which have expanded across the state since the US Supreme Court struck down a federal ban on sports betting in 2018. The proposal was opposed by Native American tribes who feared the measure would exclude them from a booming gambling market.

The campaign was the costliest campaign against election measures in US history, with the various factions supporting and opposing Propositions 26 and 27 spending an estimated $450 million.

However, after Labor Day, campaigns supporting both initiatives largely folded their cards. Spending has fallen, and top sportsbook executives have signaled that legalization will likely have to wait until 2024.

Despite the avalanche of spending, voters never seemed invested in the fate of sports betting. The measures received little support in public polls throughout the campaign, and an October survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found that only 21% of likely voters thought the Proposition 26 outcome was “very important.” “, with less than a third of likely voters saying the same for Proposition 27.

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