California Sports Betting: Republican Party Opposes Both Betting Bills

The California Republican party announced on Friday it was going to oppose Prop 26 and Prop 27, the state's two rival sports betting bills set to be voted upon on November 8, adding more fuel to the California sports betting saga.

Last Updated: Aug 22, 2022 4:11 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
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Sports betting in California took another blow on Friday as the California Republican Party announced it voted to oppose both Prop 26 and 27, the dueling initiatives attempting to get legal sports betting passed in the country's largest populated state on the Nov. 8 election.

Last month, the California Democratic Party announced it voted to oppose Prop 27 and would remain neutral on Prop 26.

Prop 26 — which is sponsored by several California Native American Tribes — would allow sports betting in tribal casinos and horse racing tracks. They have said it would continue to help the self-reliance of the tribes. Prop 27, which is backed by several online sportsbooks such as DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM, would see the operators partner with California tribes to allow online wagering (either on computers or mobile apps), claiming that revenue would fund necessary homeless and mental health support programs.

Conflicting messages, support

Even though the California Republican Party opposes both Prop 26 and 27, the group only addressed its vote on the initiative sponsored by sportsbook operators.

Jessica Millan Patterson, Chairwoman of the California Republican Party, declared support for tribes.

"Prop 27 breaks the promise made to California’s Native American tribes to grant them the sovereign right to operate gaming in California in order to improve the lives of their communities across the state," said Patterson in a statement. "We stand with California tribes and oppose Prop 27."

Backers of both propositions have been scrambling for endorsements. Prop 27 got a big one 10 days ago, when Major League Baseball threw its support behind the initiative.

"As legalized sports betting continues to expand across the country,  Major League Baseball remains committed to protecting the integrity of its games and creating a safe experience for fans who wish to wager on those games.  Proposition 27 — the only measure on California’s upcoming ballot that would authorize and regulate online sports betting — includes strong integrity provisions designed to help MLB carry out those commitments," MLB officials said in a statement.

This endorsement seems at odds with individual baseball teams, four of whom have partnerships with California tribes: The Los Angeles Dodgers are connected with the Yaamawa tribe, the Los Angeles Angels with Pechanga, the San Diego Padres with the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, and the San Francisco Giants with Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. Signage for each tribe is noticeable at the respective ballparks.

Money, attack ads keep flowing

The estimate now is that backers for both propositions have spent an amazing $360 million dollars. That is $133 more than the previous California record when Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash raised more than $200 million to defeat a proposed law that would have treated their workers as employees instead of independent contractors.

Most of the money spent by tribes and sportsbook operators has been to attack the other’s proposition in everything from billboard ads to radio and television spots.

Tribes have mocked Prop 27, saying no revenue is guaranteed to go to helping the homeless and mental health programs as promised. Sportsbooks contend that Prop 26 will only benefit some state tribes and not protect underage gambling.

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