The third-most populous city in California is urging its residents to vote no on both CA sports betting measures this election.
San Jose’s city council unanimously voted last week to oppose both Prop 26 and Prop 27. Prop 26 would allow only in-person sports betting at California’s tribal casinos and the four CA horse racetracks. Prop 27 would allow online sports betting in California via sportsbook operators partnered with tribes.
Why Does San Jose Oppose Prop 26?
The council’s move makes sense, given the gambling scene in San Jose. Both Bay 101 Casino and Casino M8trix, two of California’s prominent card rooms, are in San Jose. And, through a 16.5% revenue tax, San Jose gets about $15 million each year from the two card rooms.
California card room operators oppose Prop 26. There is a provision in Prop 26 that expands the Private Attorneys General Act, which would allow tribes to hire private attorneys to sue card rooms in potentially costly lawsuits that card rooms worry could put them out of business. Prop 26 would also eat into card rooms’ customer bases by providing another in-person gambling option — one that would be widely popular, and unavailable at card rooms.
“These new measures could force them out of business and we do not want to lose revenue,” Councilmember Dev Davis told the San Jose Spotlight. “It expands the ability of the casinos that are not in San Jose to do business, so it makes them more attractive. And it’s very possible that we could lose business that way.”
Why Does San Jose Oppose Prop 27?
San Jose’s city council also isn’t sure Prop 27 would be good for California, either. David told the San Jose Spotlight it isn’t clear just how much money would wind up directly helping solve homelessness in California. The language in Prop 27 stipulates that 85% of sports betting state tax revenue would go toward homelessness prevention programs.
Ron Werner, general manager of Bay 101, told the San Jose Spotlight both Prop 26 and Prop 27 would leave card rooms out of the CA sports betting market. So, to him, it wouldn’t benefit all Californians.
“They’re both initiatives that are written for special interest groups. They don’t provide any benefit to the people of California,” Werner told the San Jose Spotlight. “We’re not opposed to sports betting per se, we’re opposed to continuing a monopoly for special interest groups.”
What Is the Population of San Jose?
San Jose is home to 1,029,409 people, according to 2020 US Census data. That population is the third-largest in California, behind only Los Angeles (3,973,278) and San Diego (1,414, 505).
It is the largest city in Northern California, ahead of San Francisco (874,784) and Sacramento (503,482).