If you live in California and watch TV, chances are you may be overwhelmed with constant ads for Prop 26 and Prop 27, the two sports betting initiatives on the November ballot. Sifting through political noise can be difficult in any election, let alone one that is shattering California campaign spending records.
One way, however, to get a better sense for each measure is to see who all support them.
With only a few weeks remaining before we know the fate of the proposals, lines have been drawn in the state. But who stands where? Which organizations support or oppose which ballot proposal, and why?
Who Supports Prop 26?
Sometimes it feels like it’s less about who is in favor of one proposal, but rather who is opposed to the other.
A lot of the support for Prop 26, which would allow in-person sports betting at California tribal casinos and horse racetracks, and opposition to Prop 27, which would allow online and mobile sports betting, boils down to three main groups: California tribes, education organizations, and top state lawmakers.
For a full list of organizations who endorse Prop 26, click here.
In general, most tribes in California support Prop 26. Nearly 60 have publicly endorsed it, as have the California Nations Indian Gaming Association and the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations. As we reported earlier this month, only about half of the tribes that oppose Prop 27 operate gaming currently. So this is not simply a decision to oppose competition: Smaller tribes, for the most part, are united in opposition to large gaming companies controlling sports betting in California.
Prop 26 supporters point out that agreements between the state and tribes protect them from competition from non-tribal gaming operators. Prop 27 would break those compacts, critics say.
Last month, Daniel Salgado, chairperson of the Cahuilla Band of Indians, explained to Cal Matters that only large tribes who partner with sportsbooks would benefit from Prop 27, despite the measure saying 15% of tax funds would go toward non-gaming tribes. Under Prop 27, if California tribes want to offer online sports betting independent of a sportsbook company, it would need to pay a $10 million licensing fee. (Sportsbooks would have to pay $100 million.)
“There’s only gonna be a handful of tribes … that could directly benefit from entering into an agreement with the dozen or less operators that could qualify to be an operator and get a license here,” Salagado said.
WORST-CASE SCENARIO: If Prop 26 and Prop 27 Both Fail, What’s Next for California Sports Betting?
Here’s a list of 58 tribes who officially oppose Prop 27 and support Prop 26.
- Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
- Barona Band of Mission Indians
- Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria
- Big Lagoon Rancheria
- Bishop Paiute Tribe
- Blue Lake Rancheria
- Cahto Tribe of the Laytonville Rancheria
- Cabazon Band of Mission Indians
- Cahuilla Band of Indians
- Chemehuevi Indian Tribe
- Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria
- Chicken Ranch Tribe of Me-Wuk Indians
- Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians
- Colusa Indian Community Council (Cachil Dehe Band of Wintun Indians)
- Dry Creek Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians
- Elem Indian Colony
- Elk Valley Rancheria
- Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians
- Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians
- Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria
- Hoopa Valley Tribe
- Ione Band of Miwok Indians
- Jamul Indian Village of California
- Karuk Tribe
- Los Coyotes Band of Cahuilla and Cupeño Indians
- Manchester Point Arena Band of Pomo Indians
- North Fork Rancheria
- Pala Band of Mission Indians
- Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians
- Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians
- Pechanga Band of Indians
- Pit River Tribe
- Quartz Valley Indian Reservation
- Redding Rancheria
- Redwood Valley Little River Band of Pomo Indians
- Resighini Rancheria
- Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians
- San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
- San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians
- Santa Rosa Band of Cahuilla Indians
- Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians
- Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians
- Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians
- Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians
- Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians
- Susanville Indian Rancheria
- Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation
- Table Mountain Rancheria
- Tejon Indian Tribe
- Tolowa Dee-Ni’ Nation
- Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians
- Tule River Indian Tribe
- Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians
- Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians
- Wilton Rancheria
- Wiyot Tribe
- Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation
- Yurok Tribe (largest federally recognized tribe in California)
Three statewide education organizations — the California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, and Association of California School Administrators — have publicly opposed Prop 27, which would allow online and mobile sports betting. Although they haven’t taken a stance on Prop 26, opposing Prop 27 will be seen as a silent Prop 26 endorsement to many.
Altogether, those three organizations represent 450,000 adults in California.
In statements announcing their positions, these education organizations said they worried about online sports betting providing much too easy access for kids in California.
“Research shows online and mobile sports betting is highly addictive, especially for youth and other vulnerable communities,” said Jeff Freitas, president of CFT, in a press release.
Top State Lawmakers
In July, the California Democratic Party announced its opposition to Prop 27. It is neutral on Prop 26. That, again, is a not-so-silent silent endorsement of Prop 26, especially considering the party specifically mentioned siding with California tribes in the press release announcing its stance.
“We stand with California’s Native American tribes and reject this threat to their tribal sovereignty,” California Democratic Party Chair Rusty Hicks said.
In August, California Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins bolstered that Democratic position as part of a statement in which the Democratic and Republican leaders of the state Assembly and Senate jointly announced their opposition to Prop 27.
“California’s tribes have proven to be safe and responsible operators of gaming in California, providing benefits to their communities and to their members,” Atkins said. “I stand with tribal governments in opposition to Prop 27 and support their right to operate gaming facilities on their lands.”
The California Republican Party later officially opposed Prop 27 in August. However, it also opposed Prop 26.
Who Supports Prop 27?
Large gaming operators across the country, competitors in most legal sports betting markets, have unified to throw their support (and checkbooks) in support of Prop 27. That means DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and others are hopeful that California will legalize online sports betting and establish a market much like those in other states.
A lot of the support for Prop 27 and opposition to Prop 26 boils down to three main groups: sportsbooks/Major League Baseball, homelessness advocates, and California card rooms. In addition, three California tribes have endorsed Prop 27:
- Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians (limited-gaming tribe)
- Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians (limited-gaming tribe)
- Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe (gaming tribe)
For more information on Prop 27 supporters, click here.
It’s not a mystery why sports betting companies want Prop 27 to pass: It gives them access to the fifth-largest economy in the world. Experts predict annual revenue around $3 billion in California, with hundreds of millions going to the state in the form of licensing and taxes on sports betting activity.
This would mean that the sports betting welcome bonuses in California could be unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
These seven US sportsbooks have publicly endorsed and funded Prop 27:
- BetMGM LLC
- Betfair Interactive US LLC (FanDuel)
- Crown Gaming, Inc. (DraftKings)
- Bally’s Interactive LLC
- FBG Enterprises LLC (Fanatics, Inc.)
- Penn National Gaming, Inc. (PENN Gaming/Barstool)
- WSI US LLC (WynnBET)
Earlier in August, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that his league was in full support of Prop 27.
“We see (legal mobile sports betting) primarily as a form of increasing fan engagement. It’s an additional way for our fans to interact with the game,” Manfred told ESPN in an interview.
MLB would rather its fans be able to place wagers on baseball games from their own homes and on mobile devices, as opposed to having to travel to retail sportsbooks, obviously. That translates to more bets, more revenue, and more interest in baseball. MLB and several of its franchises are already partnered with US sportsbooks.
The NFL, NBA, and NHL have not expressed formal opinions on Prop 26 or Prop 27.
EXCLUSIVE SURVEY: 61% of California Sports Bettors Want Both Prop 26 and Prop 27 to Pass
Various homelessness organizations in California, including Bay Area Community Services, the Regional Task Force on Homelessness for the San Diego Area, All Home, Kings Tulare Homeless Alliance, Peoples’ Self-Help Housing, Rainbow Services, and Sacramento Regional Coalition to End Homelessness, have endorsed Prop 27 because it would direct 85% of sports betting revenue tax funds to homelessness programs.
Mayors of several cities hit hard by homelessness, including Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, have also endorsed Prop 27.
California Card Rooms
While US sportsbooks have funded the $150 million Prop 27 campaign, California card rooms have funded the $41.5 No on Prop 26 campaign — led by Commerce Casino and Hawaiian Gardens Casino.
California’s card rooms are opposed to Prop 26 because it would expand the Private Attorneys General Act. That, in a nutshell, would let California’s tribal casinos hire private attorneys to use in their lawsuits with card rooms. Those card rooms, in turn, fear those costly lawsuits could put them out of business.
Also, Prop 26 would hurt card rooms simply by giving bettors another in-person gambling option — one that would be widely popular, and unavailable at card rooms.
The California American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which represents around 20,000 employees, including those at card rooms, opposes Prop 26.