A proposed state constitutional amendment to allow online sports betting was opposed by the California Democratic Party on Sunday. The decision by the executive board of the party to remain neutral on the tribal-backed retail sports betting measure was one of the positions the party took on ballot referendums for this year’s general election.
On Saturday, the Resolutions Committee of the party reviewed the various measures going before voters. The stances on the sports betting bills were recommended by them.
The Democratic Party has almost 10 million voters and holds a 2-to-1 advantage over Republicans in the state. The governor’s mansion and both chambers of the California State Legislature are under it’s control.
The California Teachers Association, one of the largest public-sector unions in the state, came out against the online sports betting proposal six weeks ago. The prop calls for online gambling revenues to be used to fund services for the homeless, mental health programs, and some tribal economic development initiatives.
It is not known whether the actions of party leaders will influence voters. California tribal leaders who oppose the online sports betting measure were quick to pounce on it.
The chairman of the Band of Cahuilla Indians said in a statement that California Democrats rejected out-of-state corporations by opposing Prop 27. Prop 27 isn’t a solution to anything. It would expose children to a massive expansion of gambling and turn every cell phone, gaming console, tablet and laptop into a gambling device. It is a direct attack on tribal gaming and Indian self-reliance.
Online sports betting is allowed in 20 states, plus the District of Columbia, despite tribal leaders’ claims that Prop 27 would expose kids to gaming. There haven’t been many reports of online gaming operators facing charges of allowing underaged bettors to make wagers.
Nathan Click, a spokesman for “Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support,” pointed out in a statement Sunday that the state Democratic Party took stances on 11 ballot measures two years ago and voters ended up backing only four of those endorsed positions.
The pro-Prop 27 campaign has a lot of steam behind it.
Some key Democrats in the state have supported Prop 27. That includes the mayors of Oakland, Long Beach, and Sacramento. A group called “Californians for Solutions” has $100 million in funds from seven major sports betting operators to promote the measure. Three smaller tribal nations based in the state have endorsed it.
The Democrats’ stance against Prop 27 doesn’t mean good news for the supporters of Prop 26, which would allow retail sports betting at tribal casinos and state-licensed racetracks. There was a neutral stand taken by the party.
According to people who attended the Saturday session of the Resolution Committee, a key hangup was a provision in Prop 26. Private entities can take action against illegal gaming activities under that clause.
State-licensed cardroom casinos are not going to be closing down because of language in the tribal-led campaigns. Cardroom supporters argue that tribal nations and others could take advantage of the provision to go after cardrooms.
Party leaders didn’t take a stance either way because labor unions were representing some of the cardrooms.
Like the online sports betting operators and the tribal gaming entities, cardroom casinos and their supporters also announced plans to put a sports betting measure on the November ballot. They didn’t get signatures for their proposed measure.
Since then, cardroom casinos and their supporters, which include cities where cardrooms are located, have focused on defeating Prop 26.
The group Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies, which has received millions from cardroom casinos, issued a statement last week saying that more than 70 cities, as well as a slew of business and civic groups in the state, oppose the tribal gaming measure.
The Communications Workers of America, the California Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP, more than 20 chambers of commerce, and a labor activist are some of the groups that support Prop 26.