California Democratic Party has taken contradictory positions on an expansion project for online sports betting within the state that is scheduled to begin in the fall. The party made the opposing statement against this proposed referendum on Monday. There are two propositions being brought to the legislative, Proposition 26 and Proposition 27.
Proposition 26 enables sports betting to happen at tribal casinos and several horse racing sites across California. Meanwhile, Proposition 27 discusses cooperation with major sportsbook operators to bring online sports betting to the state.
As a party representing the majority of Californian residents, Democrats’ opposition threatens to prevent the legalization of online sports betting in the state. As of Tuesday, the only qualified plan for the ballot was allowing sports wagering at tribal casinos and four horse racing tracks.
Communities against online sports betting
Several organizations formed the Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming. This coalition encompasses advocates for homelessness, Indian tribes, public safety groups, faith-based organizations, and civil rights advocates. It supports Tribal Wagering Act but rejects online sports wagering. The initiative also demands expansion in casino game options in California, enabling the addition of certain ball or dice games, such as roulette and craps.
Did you know there’s only one sports betting ballot measure in California that will harm public services in communities like yours? Get the facts ➡️ https://t.co/QQH2QRqeAA #NoOnQualifiedTribalGamingInitiative
— Vote No on Prop 26 (@VoteNoonProp26) April 18, 2022
Anthony Roberts from Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation said, “The in-person, Tribal Sports Wagering Act will allow Indian tribes to build on [the] legacy as the responsible stewards of gaming in California.”
“On the other hand, the Corporate Online Gambling Proposition was written for the sole benefit of out-of-state online gambling corporations,” Roberts added.
However, a group of officials from counties across California pointed out the potential harm in allowing sports betting to happen only in tribal casinos, especially in local communities. According to the group, there is a probability that it will cause a $5.5 billion loss in economic activities and make the state lose $500 million in tax revenues.
This Tribal Wagering Act can cause local card rooms to lose business due to “unlimited, meritless lawsuits.” Tribal casinos have been against card rooms for a long time, saying that these local card rooms infringe on their exclusivity for gaming. The proposed act includes clauses that enable tribes to sue competitors in private, rather than going through the procedure of sending the complaint to the state attorney general.
Sportsbook operators take action
Seven sportsbook operators including DraftKings, BetMGM, and FanDuel are taking the initiative of collecting signatures on their own. Signatures must be gathered by the next month and this group said that they will take necessary measures to make sure that the objective is met.
The sportsbooks have collected $100 million for this initiative and they are willing to double the price for its success. They have to work against time because it is expected that the statewide ballot for the referendum will be done on November 8, 2022. If they successfully gather signs from enough residents, online sports betting is expected to be legal in California by the end of this year.
A poll released in February this year by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies shows that 45 percent of voters surveyed would support the amendment of the California Constitution to legalize sports betting. One-third of respondents opposed such an effort. Meanwhile, the remaining 22 percent of voters were undecided.