August 9, 2022 | Politico

Legislative leaders unite against sports betting ballot measure backed by gambling platforms

All four leaders in the California Legislature have jointly rejected a sports betting ballot measure in a sign of how the gambling fight will likely follow political fault lines.

The unified endorsement against Proposition 27 was a blow to the measure’s sponsors — popular betting platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel — and a vindication for Native American tribes that have spent heavily to defeat the measure.

“Californians should vote No on 27 and support California tribes over out-of-state corporations,” Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) said in a statement. Rendon was joined by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins (D-San Diego); Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (R-Nicolaus); and Senate Republican Leader Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).

The background: The companies funding Proposition 27 are vying with California Native American tribes over control of what promises to be a lucrative sports betting market. While Prop 27 would create an online betting hub overseen by the measure’s backers, the rival Native-backed Proposition 26 would allow bets at tribal casinos that already conduct gambling in California and wield significant political clout.

But much of the spending by tribal interests has been against Prop 27 — including to rally lawmakers to oppose it. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians has spent $28 million so far to defeat the initiative, and the tribe’s lobbying spending surged to $3.4 million between April and June — the most in the Legislature that quarter and the most in San Manuel’s history — as the tribe urged legislators to reject Prop 27.

What’s next? We’ll see if other California elected officials join legislative leaders and the California Democratic Party in opposing Prop 27. The measure has drawn the support of big-city mayors because it would set aside a portion of gambling revenue to address homelessness.

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