The possibly largest sports betting market in America is closed for legal sports betting. Voters decided on Tuesday, with Proposition 26 polling 29.2% of votes accepting, compared to 70.8% against proceeding with the bill. Proposition 27 showed 84% of voters rejecting the initiative. And just 16% supported Proposition 27. The measures would have allowed gambling companies to earn billions in revenue. More than 30 other states allow sports betting. And yet, gambling in California includes Native American casinos, horse tracks, card rooms, and the state lottery.
Let’s rewind what preposition 26 and 27 are about:
Proposition 26 allows in-person sports betting at racetracks and tribal casinos. It requires that racetracks and casinos that offer sports betting make certain payments to the state. The proposition also allows other gambling—such as roulette—at tribal casinos. Dozens of California’s Native American tribal governments cheered for this proposition. Operators of card rooms worried about a provision allowing individuals to bring civil lawsuits against the card clubs over disputes in state gaming law.
Proposition 27 allows tribes or gambling companies to offer online sports betting. It requires tribes and online sports betting providers to make payments to the state for specific purposes, including supporting state regulatory costs and addressing homelessness. DraftKings and FanDuel supported this proposition as they have expanded their business across the state since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports wagering in 2018. Native American tribes opposed the proposal.
The campaign was the most expensive ballot measure fight in U.S. history, with the various factions supporting and opposing Proposition 26 and Proposition 27 spending roughly $450 million. Despite the volume of dollars consumed, it looked shaky straight from the start.
Politicians from both sides showed their rejection of both initiatives. Republicans and Democrats joined in their opposition by the LA Times newspaper and California Governor Gavin Newsom, who voiced his opposition to Proposition 27 last month. The rivalry between the two groups could resume in 2024. However, both would need to draw up new initiatives while garnering more than one million Californians to qualify for a second statewide vote.
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