California’s Sports Betting Initiative Stuck Due to Coronavirus

California’s Sports Betting Initiative Stuck Due to Coronavirus

Only a few less than two dozen states and territories in the US have legalized sports betting, opening their markets to gambling operators, commercial casinos and tribal casinos. However, the state of California may have to wait some more before a legalization effort takes place.

Ballot initiatives go down the drain

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a new directive to fight against coronavirus that would include measures like social distancing. However, with these measures in place, the workers cannot gather the necessary number of signatures that could lead to ballot initiatives related to sports betting. All the groups working to get their questions on the November ballot are now worried that things could be significantly delayed because of the restrictions.

California’s Sports Betting Initiative Stuck Due to Coronavirus

According to state law, groups proposing a ballot initiative must gather at least 623,212 signatures to qualify for a ballot listing. However, if the proposal demands something that will need a constitutional amendment, then the number of minimum signature count goes to 997,139. In the case of sports betting legalization, the latter would come into effect.

How far did California sports betting come?

California Attorney General Xavier Beccera signed on the language proposed by a tribal operator group that would allow sports betting at the 70 racetracks and casinos owned by the tribes. The initiative was going on the right track, given the political and financial powers of the tribes. According to their sports betting initiative spokesman, Jacob Mejia, they are close to 1 million signatures and would have reached the required number before the deadline had COVID-19 not stopped them in their tracks unexpectedly. All the groups looking to make their initiatives reach the ballot have time till April 21 to gather all the required signature.

The preparations for reaching the goal are also getting innovative by the day. A company that runs petition efforts in the state suggested that it bought around 300,000 pens because people who were interested in signing the petition didn’t want to use the pens used by someone else. Several groups seeking to reach the desired number have reported a decrease in signature gathering. Some petition organizers suggest that all such activity should be reduced until the pandemic eases up. If they don’t follow this, then the employees could be at the risk of contracting the disease.

Note that the state has already reported 1,752 cases of the disease and suffered 33 deaths.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.