The ballot showdown to legalize sports betting in California is already the costliest set of proposals in state history, with all parties poised to eclipse $400 million in campaign contributions, unleashing a dizzying barrage of campaign announcements that will only resume by then. Election day in November.
At stake is control of what could be a billion-dollar industry, so that the dueling campaigns of Propositions 26 and 27 spend millions producing advertisements honed to convince voters that sports games are good for California and that their camp should take advantage of it. So what do indigenous tribes and homelessness have to do with sports gambling? It’s not always clear in their announcements.
A coalition of California tribes backs Prop 26, which would legalize sports betting, but only in person at existing tribal casinos and racetracks.
Prop 27 is backed by major online sports betting companies, such as DraftKings, and would create an even bigger new market by allowing online sports betting in the state. The measure would require a partnership with a California tribe to open an online sports book and specifies how tax revenue can be spent.
Ads from both campaigns are being aired so fast and furiously that voters see opposing talking points following each other during everything from YouTube videos to local news. So, for those trying to decide how to vote on Propositions 26 and 27, what do you need to know to decipher all the nifty ads?
What proposal do the Californian tribes support?
All of the advertisements opposing Proposition 27 insist on one thing: the “California tribes” do not support the proposition that would legalize online sports betting. But if you’ve seen the prolific publicity in support of Prop 27, you might be confused.
The central face of the “Yes on the 27th” campaign is Jose “Moke” Simon III, tribal president of the Middletown Rancheria of the Pomo Indians of California, and in an announcement he says “only one proposal supports California tribes like ours. .. vote ‘Yes’ on the 27th.
Simply put, his tribe and two others are breaking away from the vast majority of California tribes, whether they play or not, by supporting Prop 27. But why?
Simon, also a Lake County supervisor, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
“Out of self-interest, I can see why remote tribes in particular would want to be in favor of 27,” said I. Nelson Rose, a law professor and gambling law expert.
There are approximately 110 federally recognized tribes in the state, and just over half have casinos, leaving over 40 tribes without one. And many player tribes are located in remote locations with little opportunity for in-person gaming revenue.
“Because this is an online platform, we’re finally going to be able to deliver on the promise of tribal gaming in California,” said Yes on 27 campaign spokesperson Nathan Click. He said many California tribes, those that don’t yet have large casinos, “see the promise of being able to offer betting in a safe and responsible marketplace outside of their tribal lands.”
Of course, not all California tribes agree on this proposition, let alone other issues, but there’s no question where most tribes fall on Prop 27.
“Fifty-nine tribes in California who have taken a strong stand (against) Proposition 27,” said Kathy Fairbanks, spokesperson for the campaign opposing Proposition 27 and supporting Proposition 26. three tribes that support her,” she said. say the “Yes on 27” campaign is “misleading voters” with ads about tribal support.
To drive home this point, the most recent ads from its “No to 27” committee devote one side of the screen to a scrolling list of tribes that oppose the proposal, contrasting the other side with a short list statics of the three tribes that support the proposal.
Will adopting this proposal solve homelessness?
Outside of tribal sovereignty and support, homelessness is one of the most salient talking points in gambling proposal announcements. But what does homelessness have to do with gambling?
The link in this case is money, but also strategic messaging.
Although the establishment of a new billion dollar industry will certainly generate new tax revenues, both proposals are complex and the amount of projected revenue is uncertain. Both proposals include specific loopholes that benefit sponsors and details that could present legal hurdles.
The increase in state revenue for Prop. 27 is expected to be in the hundreds of millions, more than the tens of millions projected for Prop. 26, according to the Office of the State Legislative Analyst. And the wording of Prop. 27 states that 85% of that tax revenue should go to homelessness programs, and 15% will go to non-gaming tribes in California. While any increase in Prop 26 revenue would primarily go to the general fund, with some allocations for mental health and gambling enforcement.
“Homelessness is a statewide crisis,” said Click, who said the “Yes on 27” campaign “has worked closely” with local officials and advocates “to ensure that this funding goes where it is most needed.” Several mayors, including Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and nonprofit leaders such as Jamie Almanza, CEO of Bay Area Community Services, are listed as supporters.
For opponents of the proposal, the camp’s “Yes on 27” message around the homelessness resolution is just marketing. “This idea that it’s a solution to homelessness is a pot,” Fairbanks said. “They’re trying to dress up a measure of online sports betting gambling and trying to focus on the issue of the day in California.”