Gavin Newsom Publicly Rejects Online Sports Betting in California

California Governor Gavin Newsom press conference
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP.

Well, it’s official. What most analysts have previously predicted came to fruition this past Wednesday, as the Golden State’s Governor Gavin Newsom finally revealed he’s opposed to the legalization of online CA sports betting.

“Proposition 27 is bad for California,” Newsom said. “It would hurt California’s Indian Tribes, increase the risk of underage gambling, and push billions of dollars out of California into the pockets of out-of-state corporations.

“Vote No on 27.”

A final decision on Proposition 27 and CA sports betting will conclude during the November 8 Election Day vote.

It Doesn’t Look Good for Prop 27

Sportsbooks throughout North America favor Prop 27, which would see the legalization of online betting apps in California. However, the current poll has shown a mere 26% support, as revealed by the Public Policy Institute of California’s (PPIC) most recent results. The opposing Tribal-supported Prop 26, which would allow retail into casinos and racetracks, has reached 34% support.

The PPCI poll also revealed that 9% of California voters are personally attached to sports wagering, and 48% believe the legalization of sports betting would have negative connotations.

The PPCI explained that its results stemmed from 1,715 California residents they questioned in October.

Prop 27: Newsom and the Tribes

Newsom’s opinion on Prop 27 works in unison with the tribes’ end goal, who unanimously believe the failure of Prop 27 is a win. It would prevent the likes of FanDuel and DraftKings from entering the market, which could eventually lead to iCasino.

Newsom could be siding with the tribes knowing that the data already suggests that Prop 27 will fail.

“Newsom storms onto the battlefield after the battle and shoots the mortally wounded,” were the comments of Richard Schuetz, former commissioner of the CA Gambling Control Commission.

In a recent statement, one of California’s most prominent tribes (The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians) praised the Governor in a press release statement:

“California Tribes are grateful for Governor Newsom’s opposition to Prop.28. We thank him for standing with us to protect our sovereignty. Tribal gaming in California is beneficial for Tribes and all of California. Prop. 27 would allow out-of-state corporations to interrupt that mutually beneficial relationship. Thank you, Governor Newsom, for defending the best interests of Tribes and all Californians,” said Lynn Valbuena, the San Manuel chairwoman.

Operators Look Forward to 2024

FanDuel and DraftKings CEOs have seemingly accepted defeat when discussing the likelihood of providing online sports betting in California via Prop 27. Both CEOs expressed faith in attempting to go again in 2024.

That said, the Chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, Mark Macarro, highlighted that 62% of voters were against California online sports betting.

“They don’t want mobile anything. They just don’t. As long as that is the case, it doesn’t matter how much money (operators) throw around,” Macarro told LSR in Las Vegas. “If you work for these companies, the people who work for your company are… wasting a lot of money. Based on some poor research.”

A combined $400 million has been spent promoting Prop 26 and Prop 27. Notably, affiliates of the tribal gaming investments put forward $100 million in opposition to Prop 27, hoping to push voters in their favor.

Tribes-Involvement or Nothing

Macarro doesn’t believe there’s much room for sportsbooks in the future.

“I don’t think that’s part of the strategy is that we need to engage them,” Macarro said. “Tribes need to be the ones to decide what the framework for legalization looks like. I suppose there can be others in the car, but if the tribes aren’t in the driver’s seat, we’ll be taken for a ride.

“Inviting DraftKings, the FanDuel, etc., as subservient partners – subservience isn’t the issue. They would be sitting essentially at parity with tribes in figuring out legalization. That’s not our goal: how do we bring these folks in so we can legalize together? No.”