A major political organization in California revealed its position on Thursday’s upcoming sports betting ballot measures. The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 36 opposes the proposed amendment to the state constitution that would allow sports betting. It has the support of several tribal gaming entities.
The council, based in Los Angeles, represents 60 local unions in the state of California. It claims that the proposed legislation could lead to the loss of up to half a billion dollars in tax revenue. Other unions against the initiative include AFSCME Local 3624 and AFSCME Local 773.
According to the council, the proposed legislation, known as Prop 26, would threaten the local tax revenue of the state by allowing community cardrooms to close. It also warned that the loss of tax revenue could affect the jobs of public workers. Shavon Moore-Cage of AFSCME Local 36 said he has personally experienced the effects of the proposed legislation.
Moreover, a political committee funded by California card clubs released a statement opposing the proposed legislation. According to the group, the proposed legislation would give tribal casinos a near monopoly in the state’s gaming industry by allowing them to offer in-person sports betting. It also claimed that the legislation would give them exclusive rights over using both table games and slots.
In addition, cardrooms oppose a provision in the legislation allowing private entities to file lawsuits against tribal casinos for alleged illegal gambling activities. This change would allow them to hire private lawyers and prevent the state attorney general from handling their legal disputes.
“As a result, the measure puts more than 32,000 jobs, $1.6 billion in wages and $5.5 billion in total economic impact at risk,” a statement from the AFSCME District Council 36 reads. “Cities rely on this revenue for resident services such as public safety, housing and homeless programs.”
Other groups opposing the initiative include the California Contract Cities Association and the Gateway Cities Council of Government.
AFSCME also noted that several elected officials and mayors from across the state are against the proposed legislation. The in-person amendment also faces strong resistance from a coalition of major online sports betting operators.
Like many communities across California, LA County would lose more than 9,000 jobs unless voters say NO to the qualified tribal initiative & its poison pill provisions for local businesses. Learn the facts ➡️ https://t.co/QQH2QR8Dc0
— Vote No on Prop 26 (@VoteNoonProp26) June 23, 2022
Fight for legal sports betting continues
Sports betting and tribal groups in California are intensifying their efforts to get the issue on the November ballot. Online gambling companies have already established a $100 million lobbying fund to support the initiative. They are also taking on Native American tribes, which are expected to spend millions of dollars on the campaign.
Despite the support operators received from the AFSCME District Council 36, the group’s other initiatives still face strong opposition. One of these is the proposed legislation recently rejected by the League of California Cities.
Online gambling companies are also facing a backlash from the Democratic Party of California, which has majority control in the legislature and the governor’s office. This month, the party voted against the legalization of sports betting online while maintaining its neutrality on retail gaming. The Democrats also supported several ballot measures, but not the two related to sports gaming.
The party’s decision to support the retail-only gaming initiative was a positive development for the supporters of the proposed legislation. It also gave voters a guide on how they should vote on the issue in November.