State Democrats Say No to California Online Sports Betting Ballot Measure

State Democrats Say No to California Online Sports Betting Ballot Measure

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry celebrating during a win over the Dallas Mavericks

May 20, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) celebrates against the Dallas Mavericks during the fourth quarter in game two of the 2022 western conference finals at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The California Democratic Party recently voted to oppose the upcoming online sports betting ballot measure
The party voted to remain neutral on the tribal-backed retail sports betting measure
Both ballot measures will be voted on in the upcoming November election

The California Democratic party will not be supporting a FanDuel and DraftKings backed ballot measure to legalize California online sports betting.

Over the weekend, the California Democratic Party Resolutions Committee unanimously voted to oppose “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act,” a sports betting company-backed online sports betting measure. The measure will be known as “Proposition 27” on the November general election ballot.

The resolutions committee will neither be supporting or opposing the “Tribal Sports Wagering Act,” a tribal-backed retail sports betting measure, as it voted to remain neutral on the issue. The retail sports betting measure will be known as “Proposition 26” on the upcoming ballot.

“By opposing Prop 27, California Democrats rejected out-of-state corporations and reaffirmed their commitment to California’s Indian tribes,” said Reid Milanovich, Tribal Chairman, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, in a released statement. “Prop 27 is not a solution to anything. It would expose children to a massive expansion of gambling and turn every cell phone, gaming console, tablet and laptop into a gambling device. Prop 27 is a direct attack on tribal gaming and Indian self-reliance.”

Democrats are the leading political party in California, with more than 46% of registered voters compared with 24.1% of voters registering as Republicans.

California Sports Betting Decided in November

The “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act,” an initiative seeking to legalize online sports betting for operators partnered with a California tribe, is backed by DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, Fanatics Betting and Gaming, Bally’s Interactive, WynnBET, and Penn National Gaming (Barstool Sportsbook) through a $100 million contribution.

Prop 27 calls for a 10% tax on online sports betting, with 85% of tax revenues going to programs to help solve homelessness and those that support mental health. The remaining 15% of the tax revenues would be earmarked for California tribes not partnered with an operator.

It is joined by Prop 26 on the November ballot. Prop 26, backed by a consortium of California tribes,  seeks to authorize in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and licensed horse racetracks. It would also legalize dice games and roulette at tribal casinos.

The initiative calls for a 10% tax on retail sports bets made at California horse racetracks. It would require California tribes to reimburse the state for costs associated with regulating sports betting.

Potential California Sports Betting Election Outcomes

One of the more confusing aspects of this process is the voting procedure for these initiatives. Both will appear on the upcoming general election ballot, but are they in contention with one another? Do voters have to choose between either of them?

Both will appear on the ballot and California votes will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on each question. If either of the measures receive more than 50% “yes” votes, they will be approved and go into effect in 2023.

According to the constitution of California, if there are two voter initiatives on a ballot that are in direct conflict with each other and they are both approved by voters, the initiative that has the highest amount of votes will go into effect.

As it’s written, the “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act” claims it is not in direct conflict with any retail sports betting measure that may appear on the ballot. The wording for Prop 27 declares if both are approved by California voters then each measure can go into effect in 2023. The claim that the measures are not in direct conflict with each other will likely be a heated point of contention if both initiatives are approved.

If both are approved, but the online initiative receives more votes than Prop 26, both will go into effect. However, if both pass and the retail sports betting initiative receives more votes, the backing California tribes would likely take the result to court and seek to declare the online sports betting measure to be in direct conflict with their retail measure.

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Robert Linnehan

Gambling
Regulatory Writer and Editor

Regulatory Writer and Editor

Covering regulatory developments in online gambling. Editing/writing/creating a newsletter for readers across all formats.

Gambling

Covering regulatory developments in online gambling. Editing/writing/creating a newsletter for readers across all formats.

Author: Jesse Smith