Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
Proposition 27 is a thornier issue in gambling. After the 2018 SCOTUS ruling permitting sports betting, it opened a floodgate of online and mobile sports betting options. So far thirty-five states have authorized sports wagering. Some of it is illegal for nonresidents and some is totally unregulated, illegal across the boards.
Proposition 27 connects online wagering companies to indigenous tribe to legalize sports betting in California. Such wagering would not be legal without those compacts overseen and ratified by the state. California would establish a Trust Fund to collect the 10% tax on all wagers, licensing fees, and many other contributions. Of those revenues, 85% will go to fund homelessness solutions, mental health services, and addiction services. The remaining 15% would go to the nonaffiliated tribes and nations that do not have large casinos, are not part of the compacts, and thus are deprived of the revenues. These smaller tribes and bands are strongly in support of this measure.
Because there is no personal oversight as there would be in Prop. 26 casinos, solutions to prevent underage gambling need to be in place. There will be state of the art screening to prevent underage gambling, something that currently does not exist for unregulated online sites. There also is a major prohibition against wagering on high school sports. A new division in the state’s Department of Justice would be created to oversee sports betting and impose controls both on underage access and on general compliance with this new law.
The cities with the largest homelessness crises are strongly in support of Proposition 27. Having access to extensive revenues to help solve their crises would be very desirable. Yes, gaming interests are very supportive of this proposition, of course. But the good these new revenues could do would be at their expense.
The 2018 SCOTUS ruling unleashed sports wagering upon the nation. This is a carefully crafted proposition that does a great deal to mitigate the potential harm and to offer our state significant new revenues to address major problems among us. It further seeks equity by including those tribes with scarce resources in the prosperity that has eluded them even as larger tribes with easily accessible casinos have flourished, Proposition 27 meets the test of doing no harm and offering us some genuine hope for solutions to very old problems. We recommend a YES vote.