Californians reject sports betting proposals

On Tuesday, the Associated Press officially called the Prop 27 race, with 84% of California voters rejecting Prop 27.

Prop 27 would have enabled online sports betting. The likes of DraftKings, BetMGM, and FanDuel were behind Prop 27. It was opposed by a broad coalition of more than 50 California Indian tribes, educators, civil rights and public safety leaders, advocates for the homeless, and every major newspaper office in California.

Prop 26, a retail-only sports betting proposal, was defeated by 69.4% of voters. Tribes supported Prop 26.

California will not have any legal sports betting for now. More than 30 states in the country have some form of sports betting.

“We are grateful to California voters who rejected the fraudulent policies of out-of-state gaming companies and once again sided with the California Indian tribes,” said Greg Sarris, Graton Rancheria’s Federated Indians tribal chairman.

“Corporate operators thought they could roll into California, throw their money around, mislead the voters and get a win. Big mistake,” said Beth Glasco, vice chair of the Barona Band of Mission Indians. “Voters are smart. You saw through the false promises in Prop 27. Businesses completely misjudged California voters and the resolve of our tribal nations.”

“Our internal poll has been clear and consistent for years: California voters do not support online sports betting,” said Anthony Roberts, tribal leader of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. “Voters have real and significant concerns about turning every cell phone, laptop and tablet into a gaming device, the resulting addiction and exposure to children.”

Other tribal leaders commented on the results.

“It’s clear voters don’t want a massive expansion of online sports betting, and they trust Native American tribes when it comes to responsible gambling,” said Mark Macarro, tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Indians. “As Tribes, we will analyze these results and collectively discuss what the future of sports betting in California might look like.”

The tribes made it clear that defeating Prop 27 was always the top priority, even when Prop 26 was supported by the tribes.

Prop 26 was originally slated for the 2020 election, but the March 2020 pandemic shutdown halted signature collection, and the measure subsequently qualified for the 2022 election. After Prop 27 was filed with the California Attorney General in August 2021, the sole shifted Tribes focus on defeating Prop 27.


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