Voters in California Tuesday rejected two ballot measures that would have legalized sports betting in the state.
Sports gambling is legal in 36 states plus the District of Columbia, but the nation’s most populous state will remain without legal sports wagering. The Associated Press declared early Wednesday morning that both ballot measures failed by overwhelming margins.
The first ballot measure, Proposition 26, was backed by the gaming industry and would have allowed casinos and California’s top four horse tracks to offer in-person sports betting. With about 46% of the vote tallied as of Wednesday morning, voters rejected the initiative by about 40 points.
The second one, Proposition 27, was backed by Native American tribes and would have allowed online sports betting, either through the tribes themselves or in partnership with the major platforms. Only 16% voted for the measure as of Wednesday morning.
Gambling in California will remain limited to Native American casinos, horse tracks card rooms and the state lottery.
Neither major political party in California supported the initiatives. Major League Baseball had backed Proposition 27.
According to The Associated Press, nearly $600 million was spent trying to convince Californians to vote for one of the ballot measures.
While most states have legalized sports gambling through the legislative process, some have taken to the polls to let voters decide, including Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Maryland voters legalized sports wagering in the state in 2020, with in-person operations now up and running and online options expected to launch around Thanksgiving.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.