CA Card Rooms Making Last Financial Push to Beat Prop 26 in Election

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.

LOOKING AHEAD: These 10 Sportsbooks Would Be Eligible for Licenses If Prop 27 Passes in CA

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.

Who?How Much?
Hawaiian Gardens Casino$10,307,400
Commerce Casino$10,305,001
Knighted Ventures LLC$4,060,000
Casino M8trix$2,220,000
Parkwest Casinos$2,087,400
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

IF CA LEGALIZES SPORTS BETTING … Potential California Sportsbook Promotions

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.

About the Author

Matthew Bain

Matthew Bain started as News Editor and Content Manager at California Casinos in 2022. Before that, he spent six years as a sports reporter and then deputy sports editor for the Des Moines Register, during which time he won nine statewide journalism awards, including the Genevieve Mauck Stoufer Outstanding Young Iowa Journalists Award. As deputy sports editor, Matthew oversaw the Register's recruiting coverage while also innovating the outlet's high school sports coverage. Matthew graduated from San Diego State and grew up in California, but he's somehow a Boston Celtics fan. Long story.