By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — A new poll released Wednesday found that California voters support the notion of legalizing sports betting in California, though not by an overwhelming margin.
The poll, released by the Berkeley Institute of Intergovernmental Studies, found that 45% of registered voters said they would vote “yes” on a measure to legalize sports betting, while 33% are more inclined to vote “no.” About 22% of voters responded that they were undecided.
The poll was administered online during the first week of February to about 4,477 registered voters.
The polling found that men are more interested in the idea than women, and support is higher among younger and middle-aged voters than older individuals. Pollsters noted that opinions “do not vary a great deal by party registration,” with polling data showing that 4-in-10 of both Republicans and Democrats would show support for the initiative.
“It is rare these days for a political issue to not be seen as partisan,” IGS Co-Director Eric Schickler said in a statement. “But legalizing sports betting in California appears to be one of them, at least for the time being.”
IGS surveyed 4,477 registered California voters between Feb. 3-10 with a 3 percentage point margin of error.
The polling results come as Californians will likely be asked to mull a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize sports betting in the state later this year. Voters could see up to three proposals to legalize sports wagering on the November ballot.
One ballot measure, brought forth by casino-owning tribes, would allow Californians 21 years and up to place sports bets at tribe-owned casinos or race tracks and impose a 10% tax to fund gambling prevention programs. The measure was initially filed in 2019 and approved for the Nov. 8 ballot.
This initiative, however, would not allow for online sports betting.
A coalition of companies, including DraftKings and FanDuel, supported a second initiative in October that would allow online sports betting in California, a measure they say will “generate billions of dollars in revenue to help fight homelessness and expand mental health support” across the state. The initiative would impose a 10% tax on sports wagering revenues and licensing fees, with a portion going toward homelessness programs.
After that proposal was filed, three-casino owning tribes came forward with an initiative in December that would allow Native American tribes, racing associations, gaming establishments and professional sports leagues to offer online sports betting. The proposal would tax gross gaming revenue from sports wagering at 25%, which would be used to address several state issues, including homelessness and mental health, according to Ballotpedia.
Both of these proposals are still in the signature-collecting process.
Madison Hirneisen covers California for The Center Square.