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Survey Results Show Voters Favor California Sports Betting Legalization

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Feb 24, 2022 · 7:32 AM PST

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  • Berkeley IGS Poll released results of survey in which 45% of California voters approve sports betting legalization
  • Younger and middle-aged voters more open to legalizing sports betting in the state than older voters
  • Californians will likely have several ballot initiatives to vote on this November

Early results of a recent survey show voters are leaning towards the approval of California sports betting in the November general election.

Berkeley IGS Poll, of the Institute of Governmental Studies at University of California, Berkeley, released the results of a recent online survey of 4,477 California voters. Co-funded by the Los Angeles Times, the results found 45% of respondents approved of legalizing California sports betting, 33% responding they would vote no against any initiatives, and 22% who are undecided.

Early Poll Results Encouraging For Sports Betting

Opinions at this stage of the process do not vary greatly by political party, according to the survey results. About four in 10 of both Democrats and Republicans support the legalization of California sports betting.

“It is rare these days for a political issue to not be seen as partisan. But legalizing sports betting in California appears to be one of them, at least for the time being,” IGS co-director Eric Schickler said in a release for the survey.

Californians may see up to four initiatives to legalize sports betting in some fashion on the 2022 general election ballot. Only one initiative, a tribal-led initiative to legalize retail sports betting at tribal casinos and state racetracks, has procured the necessary signatures to appeal on the 2022 ballot. If approved, the initiative would also legalize dice games and roulette at tribal casinos.

California tribes have also floated a second initiative to legalize retail sports betting at tribal casinos and allow tribes to offer online sports betting, though that has yet to receive the necessary signatures.

A third initiative, the “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act,” was officially filed with the state attorney general’s office in September 2021 and seeks to allow qualified sportsbook operators to partner with California Tribal Nations to operate online sports betting. Backed by DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, Fanatics Betting and Gaming, Bally’s Interactive, WynnBET and Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sportsbook through a $100 million contribution, the campaign for the initiative is in the process of collecting verified signatures to officially place the initiative on the 2022 November general election ballot.

A fourth initiative, backed by several California mayors, would allow state card rooms and tribal casinos to offer both retail and online sports betting. The initiative would also legalize new card and tile games for both types of facilities.

Men, Sports Fans Backing California Sports Betting

According to the survey results, men are more open to sports betting legalization in California compared with women. Young and middle-aged voters are more apt to vote for sports betting than older voters as well.

Sports fans were obviously more in favor of legalized sports betting in the state. The survey results found that Black, Latino, and men were the  main segments of the California population who expressed greater interest in professional sports. Women, whites, and voters who said they are strongly liberal in politics were less likely to be fans of professional sports.

Voters who expressed a high interest in professional sports support legalizing California sports betting by almost three to one. Only about 33% of respondents with no interest in professional sports support the ballot initiatives.

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