Battle for Sports Betting in California Gains Opposition

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Andrew Heaney #28. John McCoy/Getty Images/AFP

Top sportsbooks such as FanDuel would love to operate in California. California could be a rather lucrative state for sportsbooks because of the number of bettors who could place wagers legally and the number of California-based sports teams that they would enjoy wagering on.

Right now, there are two propositions in play.

Proposition 27 is the one backed by the professionals, the big sportsbook brands such as BetMGM.

Proposition 26 is supported by tribes in the state who, together, form a coalition against the national sportsbook operators.

Both propositions are being confronted with vocal and significant opposition that is forcing the fate of legal sports betting in California to endure an intense and rocky path.

Why the Opposition to Proposition 27?

Proposition 27 would allow reliable companies such as FanDuel to operate in California. The tribes, obviously opposed to Proposition 27, are investing significant financial and material resources to spread unfounded hit pieces against sportsbooks such as FanDuel.

These greedy tribal powers are claiming that the sportsbooks that would be empowered by Proposition 27 would be allowed to steal money from Californians. This claim is obviously wrong.

As evident in other states, the tax rate attached to sportsbooks’ revenue allows for significant funds to leave sportsbook hands and benefit various parts of the state.

Education, homelessness, and more socially significant things could receive badly needed help if Proposition 27 were to pass.

However, politicians are also speaking up against Proposition 27. Particularly Democrats are steadfastly determined to defend the tribes simply because they want to empower them as much as possible despite the damage that they would inflict on the entire state of California if they were to prevent the passage of Proposition 27. 

Ironically, some tribes are supporting Proposition 27, even though it is alleged to be “against them.”

Proposition 26 Also Uncertain 

That being said, Proposition 26 is also facing more opposition. This Proposition would allow only for in-person wagering, which would have to take place at the tribes’ casinos and horse tracks.

Opponents rightly point out the loss of tax revenue that would be incurred by the passage of Proposition 26.

Besides depriving California of badly needed benefits, this loss would hurt the entire public, costing public employees their jobs.