In the November 2022 election, California voters will be asked to decide whether to expand gambling throughout the state beyond casinos to online and mobile sports wagering. Reform California has a simple voter guide that explains Prop 27 in “Plain English” and uncovers significant problems with the measure.
Seven statewide ballot measures will appear on California’s November 2022 ballot. One of these is Prop 27, which will expand gambling in California beyond casinos currently operated by Native American tribes by allowing private businesses to operate online and mobile sports wagering for persons 21 and up.
Backers of the measure say they would impose a special tax on these new forms of gambling with revenue allegedly going toward homeless aid programs.
Carl DeMaio, chairman of Reform California, says he strongly opposes Prop 27 and warns it just an attempt to grant a gambling monopoly to a handful of powerful businesses that are bankrolling the initiative.
“Prop 27’s language is fatally flawed to line the pockets of a handful of big business interests while hurting our tribal communities and wasting tax dollars — and it shamefully uses the homelessness crisis as mere window dressing to do it,” says DeMaio.
Barona Band of Mission Indians chairman Raymond Welch and Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria chairman Greg Sarris agree with DeMaio. They warn that the measure “would authorize the largest expansion of gambling in state history – allowing virtually anyone, anywhere, anytime to gamble.” The tribes say that this expansion and the new competition from private businesses will undermine their ability to fund programs for their communities.
Who is behind Prop 27? Private gaming giants FanDuel, BetMGM and DraftKings — who will benefit financially from Prop 27’s passage.
California became the birthplace of Indian casinos in 1987 with the Supreme Court decision in California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, which ruled that tribes can run casinos outside of the state’s jurisdiction. Since 1987, Californians have supported Indian gaming by passing protections such as Proposition 1A in 2000, which approved gaming on reservation lands. The rise of these Indian casinos have lifted tribes out of poverty and provided jobs for both the Indian and non-Indian communities.
“California voters decided long ago to permit gambling in a handful of areas - not statewide - and to allow tribal entities to utilize gaming to create robust local economies,” DeMaio notes. “Allowing private and big businesses to step into the gaming space will lead to an enormous expansion of gambling statewide and it will crush the stable economies of our local tribes” explained DeMaio.
DeMaio also takes issue with the provision of Prop 27 which would aim to allocate tax revenue collected on the new forms of gaming toward “Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention.”
“California spends millions of dollars on the homeless crisis already, and nothing will change by throwing more money at housing and rental assistance without addressing root causes of mental health and addiction,” he continued.
DeMaio points to various projects by the state and federal government on housing, infrastructure, homelessness prevention, and more that have achieved little success despite exorbitant funding.
Prop 27 contains language allowing some funding to improve “outcomes for people experiencing homelessness who need access to mental health, substance use disorder treatment, and service enhanced housing.” But DeMaio says the language is creatively worded with loopholes that allow the state to divert or spend little money in these areas.
Reform California has put together what DeMaio calls a “Plain English” annual voter guide which cuts through the confusing ballot language and clutter and explains your ballot in simple terms. The organization has analyzed Prop 27 and issued the following assessment.
- Official Title: Allows Online And Mobile Sports Wagering. Initiative Constitutional and Statutory Amendment.
- Plain English Translation: Allows Private Businesses to Engage in Online Gambling to Compete with Native American Tribes
- Prop 27 would expand gambling in California beyond casinos currently operated by Native American tribes by allowing private businesses to operate online and mobile sports wagering for persons 21 and up. Native American tribes say this competition from private businesses will undermine their ability to fund programs for their tribes. Reform California recommends a NO vote.
DeMaio and Reform California recommend a “NO” vote on Prop 27.
Join the Campaign: Make Ballot Titles Honest
Photo Credit: Getty Images