California card rooms are making a final push to defeat Prop 26 in the days leading up to the Nov. 8 election.
Led by Commerce Casino, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, and Casino M8trix, No on 26 backers donated nearly $1.3 million in opposition to the in-person California sports betting initiative on Oct. 26 and Oct. 27. That’s nearly 3% of the entire campaign budget contributed over two days.
The three mentioned card rooms, three of the most popular in California, each donated $220,000. The ownership ground behind Seven Mile Casino, The Saloon at Stones Gambling Hall, and The Tavern at Stones Gambling Hall, contributed $100,000. And PT Gaming and F2 TPS, both third-party service providers, donated $220,000 and $300,000, respectively.
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This influx of cash comes after No on 26 released two more ads in recent weeks. One focuses on how Prop 26 is all about expanding the tribal monopoly on California gaming, and how it would put card rooms out of business. The other highlights how “every major newspaper” has come out against Prop 26.
Card rooms and their third-party service providers have solely funded the No on 26 campaign, which has now raised just north of $43.8 million. There’s no denying opposition from card rooms has contributed to Prop 26 polling at 36% support heading into November.
Katherine Florey, a law professor and tribal law expert at UC Davis, told California Casinos she thinks the anti-card room provisions in Prop 26 may be what ultimately dooms it in the November 2022 election.
Here’s a look at the top No on 26 donors.
|Hawaiian Gardens Casino||$10,307,400|
|Knighted Ventures LLC||$4,060,000|
|The Bicycle Hotel & Casino||$2,085,000|
|Bay 101 Casino||$2,000,000|
|PT Gaming LLC||$1,805,000|
|Elevation Entertainment and affiliated entities||$1,197,500|
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Why Do Card Rooms Oppose Prop 26?
Card rooms are united against Prop 26 for a number of reasons. Prop 26 would legalize sports betting, roulette, and dice games (such as craps) at Indian casinos. That would give those tribal casinos yet another retail gaming advantage over card rooms.
Prop 26 would also allow tribal casinos to directly sue card rooms if the tribe believes a card room is doing something illegal. Card rooms fear tribes would use this provision to launch frivolous lawsuits that would put card rooms out of business.
Currently, 84 card rooms have licenses in California. However, only 59 of those are open and active. There used to be well over 100 card rooms up and running in California.