Teachers Association Joins Fight Against Sports Betting

Opponents of a mobile sports betting referendum question in California recently gained a key ally when the California Teachers Association announced it opposed the issue.

The CTA unveiled its list of preferred candidates and positions on various ballot questions and instructed its 310,000 members to “oppose” the measure. 

It did not offer further comments on the initiative.

Mobile Sports Betting Opponents Pleased

The lead opponents of the referendum question, which has yet to be formally approved by California election officials for inclusion on the November ballot, were quick to spread the news.

The Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming sent out a release almost instantly and noted CTA is the latest in a long line of civic groups to oppose the measure.

“Sponsored by out-of-state, online gambling corporations like DraftKings and FanDuel, the Corporate Online Gambling Proposition would legalize online and mobile sports gambling throughout the state – turning virtually every cell phone, laptop and tablet into a gambling device,” the group states on its information page about CTA’s action.

CA Voter GuideCalifornia Sports Betting Initiatives

Cardrooms Opposed To Approved Sports Betting Question

California is guaranteed to have at least one sports betting initiative on the ballot in the fall.  That measure, backed by certain tribes in the Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming, would allow for sports betting at casinos and specific race tracks but would bar card rooms from getting in on the action. 

Ads have begun to flood the airwaves against that measure. 

“It has a specific provision that would allow for lawsuits against cardrooms, and even customers in the cardrooms, as a way to close them down,”  Compton Mayor Emma Sharif told ABC-7.

A number of cities have banded together to oppose the proposal because they worry about the impact it would have on their communities. 

The Bicycle Hotel and Casino is located in Bell Gardens, a city near Los Angeles. Alejandra Cortez is a member of the city council. She estimated the facility brings in nearly 50 percent of the city’s general fund revenue and helps numerous public works expenses and police services.

“We got a preview of what that would be like when we had to shut down in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cortez told the Los Angeles Daily Times. “It was closed for nine months and it resulted in a loss of about $10 million.”

Time Ticking For Approval of Second Measure on Ballot

Proponents of the sportsbook-backed proposal have until the end of June to get their signatures verified. Last month they submitted more than 1.6 million signatures to state officials, who in turn must approve at least 997,139.

While approval is expected, it is not guaranteed.

About the Author

Mary Shaffrey

Mary Shaffrey is an award-winning journalist who co-authored "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Government." She has spent more than 20 years covering government, both at the state and federal level. As a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and the Providence College Friars she feels cursed. Luckily she is a hockey mom too so her spirits aren't totally shot.