California Gov. Gavin Newsom Opposes Prop 27 Online Sports Betting Measure

Posted on: October 26, 2022, 09:31h. 

Last updated on: October 26, 2022, 09:31h.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday officially came out against Proposition 27, the proposed amendment to the state constitution on the Nov. 8 ballot that would legalize online sports betting statewide.

Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (right) walks in Washington, DC between meetings with national leaders. On Wednesday, Newsom announced his opposition to Proposition 27, a ballot measure to legalize online sports betting in the state. (Image: Office of the Governor of California/Flickr)

Newsom’s stance, first reported by Politico, is really anticlimactic at this point. Poll results released earlier this month by the University of California at Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies (Berkeley IGS) found the measure had just 27% support from likely voters and 53% opposition. A Public Policy Institute of California poll last month found Prop 27 had just 34% support to 54% opposition.

Two weeks ago, the chief executives of FanDuel and DraftKings all but admitted at the Global Gaming Expo the sports betting measure was headed for certain failure this year. Their companies are the primary drivers behind “Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support,” a committee created by seven sports betting operators. Those sportsbooks contributed more than $169 million to the campaign, according to data from Cal-Access. FanDuel and DraftKings gave a combined total of nearly $70 million.

“Californians for Solutions” says Prop 27 would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for homelessness programs and shore up mental health services across the state. It also would provide economic development funding for some tribes, an apparent olive branch rejected by a near majority of California’s gaming tribes.

Newsom, who is also on the ballot seeking re-election, told reporters two months ago that he hadn’t given Prop 27 much consideration. Still, he added that he did not believe it was “a homeless initiative.”

Tribes Thank Newsom

California’s tribal nations set up two committees to oppose Prop 27. Combined, the “Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming” and “Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming” have raised more than $237 million, according to Cal-Access. They have run numerous ads

A spokeswoman for the coalition welcomed Newsom’s stance on the online sports betting measure.

Thanks to the governor for joining our broad, bipartisan coalition opposed to this deceptive online gambling proposition. Prop 27 benefits the out-of-state corporations at the expense of Californians,” Kathy Fairbanks said.

Newsom’s not the first California political leader to come out against the measure. Both the Republican and Democratic state party committees oppose the measure. So, too, did the state House and Senate leaders from both parties. A broad range of other civic and labor groups also have come out against the measure.

Prop 26 Also Faces Opposition

Prop 27 isn’t the only sports betting measure on the ballot in California. Tribal gaming nations back Proposition 26, an initiative that would allow brick-and-mortar sportsbooks at Indian casinos and state-licensed racetracks. Prop 26 also would allow tribal casinos to offer dice-based table games and roulette.

Prop 26 also has opposition, namely from the state’s cardroom casinos. Those operators have been at loggerheads with tribal gaming nations for years. Their opposition to Prop 26 stems from a provision in the initiative that would let tribes or others file court cases against anyone they claim is violating state gaming laws. The cardrooms say the measure would unfairly target them and could force them to shut down.

Los Angeles area politicians, representatives from public sector unions and animal rights advocates held an event in Commerce, Calif., Wednesday to speak out against Prop 26. They said the initiative threatens nearly 13,500 jobs and about $2.3 billion in economic impact within Los Angeles County.

“As the representative of five cities in Southern California that rely on cardrooms to fund vital city services such as senior programs and environmental initiatives, the California Cities for Self-reliance Joint Powers Authority is asking voters to reject Prop 26,” said Juan Garza, with California Cities for Self-Reliance Joint Powers Authority. That group represents Bell Gardens, Commerce, Compton, Cudahy, and Hawaiian Gardens, all of which have cardrooms.

Both Measures Face Long Odds

Prop 26 is not faring much better than Prop 27. In the Berkeley IGS poll, just 31% supported it, compared to 42% who opposed it. A number of other groups and leaders – including the California Republican Party – have also come out against it.

Besides opposing Prop 27, the “Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming” is also considered a pro-Prop 26 group. However, even with the election now less than two weeks away, Fairbanks told Wednesday that the group’s primary focus remains to defeat Prop 27.

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