California group slams ballot measure to direct sports betting revenue to homeless people, mental health services

A California advocacy group said on Monday it had qualified a ballot measure for the November election that would allow hundreds of millions of dollars in sports betting tax revenue to address homelessness and mental health across the country. ‘State.

Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support said it collected about 1.6 million signatures for the measure, far more than the roughly 1.1 million signatures needed to authorize a ballot measure in the general election.

The ballot measure would legalize sports betting for those 21 and older and allow tax revenue for homelessness and mental health services.

The organization said it was “the only ballot measure that will secure hundreds of millions of dollars each year to address homelessness and fund mental health and addiction treatment in California.”

“The initiative achieves this by authorizing, tightly regulating and taxing online sports betting conducted in partnership with the tribes of California – following nearly half of the country in creating a safe online sports betting market. and responsible,” the group said in a press release.

Sports betting is legal in 34 states and Washington, DC, but illegal in California, the nation’s most populous state that could bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue each year under the measure.

States funnel revenue from casino and sports betting taxes for public services, and Californians for Homelessness Solutions and Mental Health Support argue California should use the revenue to address a crisis in the state.

California has the most homelessness in the country, with a January 2020 tally showing more than 161,000 people homeless every day, according to the US Interagency Council on Homelessness.

The pandemic is said to have worsened the homelessness crisis in the United States. California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) has proposed an additional $2 billion to address homelessness for the state’s 2022-23 fiscal budget, adding to a $12 billion initiative he created Last year.

A David Binder Research poll conducted from March 28 to April 4 showed that about 59% of Californians support legalizing sports betting to tackle homelessness, compared to 28% who oppose it.

California city leaders backed the ballot measure, including the mayors of Oakland, Fresno and Sacramento.

Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer (right) said the ballot measure would ‘give towns like Fresno a guaranteed source of funding to address homelessness’.

“To truly address this critical issue and give the most vulnerable among us the housing, mental health and addiction treatment they need, there must be a continued source of income,” Dyer said in a statement. . “This initiative would do just that.”

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