By Yuto K. ’23
“Vote No on Prop 27 in November”
“Vote Yes on Prop 27 in November”
You have likely heard those lines multiple times while watching TV in the past few months. In fact, the Los Angeles Times reports that as of now, 410 million dollars have been spent on advertisements over Prop 26 and 27, which goes to show how contentious these issues have been. During midterm elections next month, voters will elect Senators, Representatives, State Officials, and Local Officials. Another area that voters will have a say on are propositions. Propositions are policies that are voted on statewide, and the Props on the ballot differ from state to state. Here in California, there are seven propositions that California voters will have a say on during midterms ranging from abortion (Prop 1) to music and arts programs in public schools (Prop 28) to a ban on flavored tobacco products (Prop 31).
So what exactly are Propositions 26 and 27? Both propositions address sports betting, which is why they are often linked together. The passage of Proposition 26 would lead to in-person sports betting being permitted at California’s private horse racing tracks and tribal casinos. The passage of Proposition 27 would allow online betting which would be conducted by Native American tribes and gambling companies like FanDuel or DraftKings.
Due to these propositions being such a contentious topic, there have been many arguments for and against them. If Prop 26 were to pass, revenue from the initiative would be used to fund programs for homelessness or gambling addiction. However, the major opposition to Prop 26 comes from cardrooms. Juan Garza, an attorney representing cardrooms in Los Angeles County recently told ABC News that there is a provision in the proposition that would allow tribal casinos to sue cardrooms for the types of games they offer. There has also been a rivalry between the cardrooms and the tribal casinos in the past as the tribal members feel as though cardrooms have acted in unethical ways such as “flouting the law”, “violating anti-money laundering laws” or “misleading regulators.”
Proposition 27 also faces similar arguments. Like Prop 26, Prop 27 would be a source of funding for programs combating homelessness. Another argument that has been presented is that according to a spokesperson for the yes side of Prop 27, online sports betting is legalized in 25 other states and it can be conducted safely in California. Opponents of Prop 27 say that the homelessness program aspect is misleading and the amount of money going into the programs would be nowhere near enough to make a difference. Another concern is that legalizing online sports betting would make it difficult to ensure that people below the age of 21 do not participate in betting and the passage of the measure could also lead to an increase in people getting addicted to gambling. Finally, while proponents of Prop 27 have argued that they have the backing of Native American tribes, the majority of tribes actually oppose the proposition due to the fact that the profits would go to other corporations.
Just because these two propositions are often linked together does not mean that you have to vote yes on both or no on both. In fact, Prop 26 has a wide range of support from tribal groups while not many groups support Prop 27. However, current polling shows that it is likely that both propositions will not pass. A poll conducted by UC Berkeley surveying 6,939 California voters shows that 31% of people are supportive of Prop 26, 42% are against it, and 27% are undecided. For Prop 27, 27% of voters support it, 53% are against it, and 20% are undecided. The poll also showed that people who had seen advertisements of the proposition were more against the measures compared to people who had not seen the advertisements. These propositions also do not seem to be partisan issues as the majority of Democrats and Republicans oppose the measures. Finally, people who have “a lot of interest” in pro sports were almost evenly split for the measures. Although there is still a month to go of advertisements and campaigning, it looks increasingly likely that both propositions will not pass.
These two specific propositions may not have a direct impact on you, but your vote could have an impact on many others. Heading into midterms, this highlights the importance for voters to be educated about the issues that are on the ballot.