A new poll of likely California voters showed marginal support of legalizing sports betting, according to a release from the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies on Wednesday, Feb. 23.
The poll consisted of more than 4,000 registered state voters and revealed 45 percent of Californians supported the legalization of sports betting, whereas 35 percent did not. Approximately 22 percent of voters were undecided.
California voters go to the polls November 8 and could be asked to approve up to four ballot initiatives seeking to legalize sports gambling in the state.
Director of the Berkeley IGS Poll Mark DiCammillo said, “It’s just anybody’s guess right now how an initiative might fare,” and then added, “they might be able to win if they can prove a benefit to the state and a lack of harm to the larger population.”
Every state bordering California currently has authorized sports gambling, and the industry is acculatoring across the country following the U.S. Supreme Court decision to end the federal law banning sports betting in all states except Nevada.
Furthermore, professional sports leagues have recently changed their tune and are now largely supportive of legalized sports gambling.
Unlike many political issues, Berkeley’s IGS poll showcased that opinions didn’t differ significantly based on party registration.
IGS co-director Eric Schickler noted, “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.”
Not surprisingly, one notable area of disagreement was between sports fans and non fans.
Voters expressing a lot of interest in professional sports supported legalizing sports gambling nearly three to one. On the other hand, just 33 percent of voters with no interest in professional sports supported the legalization or sports betting.