Election Day is 11 weeks away, and with committees on the various sides of the California sports betting debate having millions of dollars to spend, those groups have hit the airwaves – and hit the airwaves hard – trying to influence voters.
Two more spots were released in the Golden State Tuesday regarding Proposition 27, which would legalize online wagering in the state. It is one of two measures that will be on the California ballot.
On the pro-Prop 27 side, “Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support” released a 30-second commercial (see below) with a co-founder of a Sacramento-based homeless shelter talking about the need for funding for such programs across the state.
Under the proposal put forward by seven national sports betting operators, online sports betting would be legalized in California and revenues from commercial operators would be taxed at 10%. The state would then apply 85% of the tax revenue toward a funding stream for homelessness and mental health programs. The remainder would go toward tribal economic development initiatives.
For the first time ever, Prop 27 will provide permanent funding for organizations like ours,” Rachelle Ditmore, co-founder of City of Refuge, says in the video. “Saying yes to Prop 27 means more people get the assistance that they need.”
“Californians for Solutions” is funded by Bally Bet, Barstool Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, and WynnBET. Those companies have contributed $150 million to the campaign so far.
Spot Says Most Tribes Oppose Prop 27
The other commercial that dropped Tuesday was from the “Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming,” which is a tribal-backed committee that is against Prop 27.
The coalition’s commercial seeks to counter a message “Californians for Solutions” sought to make earlier in the campaign – the tribal support for the online sports betting measure. The 15-second ad (see below) shows the three tribes that have come out in support of Prop 27 on one side of the screen, while the list of more than 50 tribes that oppose the proposition scroll on the other side.
James Siva, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, called efforts by Prop 27 supporters “deceptive” and an attack on tribal sovereignty.
Prop 27 jeopardizes Indian gaming and vital funding that both gaming and non-gaming tribes use to provide housing, healthcare, firefighting services, education, cultural preservation, and other services for our communities,” Siva said.
Besides being against Prop 27, the “Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming” is also pro-Proposition 26. Prop 26 is an expanded gaming referendum that would allow retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos and California-licensed racetracks. In addition, the measure would allow tribal casinos to offer dice-based table games and roulette, and it would allow tribes and other private entities to potentially take legal action against entities allegedly conducting illegal gambling operations in the state.
The group has raised more than $106 million from tribal gaming interests.
Two Other Groups Campaigning
Besides the “Californians for Solutions” and the “Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming,” there are two other political committees raising money to get their messages across to voters regarding the California sports betting initiatives.
“Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming” is another tribal-backed organization, but its focus is solely on defeating Prop 27. It has received more than $66 million from tribal gaming interests.
Meanwhile, state-licensed cardroom casinos have put together “Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies,” an anti-Prop 26 committee. Cardrooms and their supporters are against the tribal gaming measure, mainly because of concerns about the Private Attorney General Act provisions they believe will target cardrooms and look to close them down.
That group has raised $41.5 million from cardrooms across the state.
The more than $364 million raised by the groups is considered a record raised in California for an initiative.
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