LOS ANGELES (AP) — The most expensive ballot proposition bet in U.S. history went bankrupt on Tuesday as California voters overwhelmingly rejected sports betting initiatives by Native American tribes and the gambling industry .
Nearly $600 million has been raised through competing efforts to grow the game and try to grab a share of a potential billion-dollar market in the nation’s most populous state.
But voters didn’t want a piece of that action.
With more than 4.6 million votes counted, a measure widely backed by gaming companies that would have allowed adults to bet on mobile devices and online won just 16% support. A proposal that would have legalized sports betting at tribal casinos and racetracks had less than 30% support.
Money raised and spent more than doubled the record amount spent in 2020 by Uber, Lyft and other app-based transportation and delivery services to prevent drivers from becoming eligible employees for benefits and job protection.
More than 30 other states allow sports bettingbut gambling in California is currently limited to Native American casinos, racetracks, card rooms, and the state lottery.
The race was marked by a publicity explosion that the benefits touted by proponents of each claimed measure would come with approval. Each was countered by vigorous campaigns that warned of the dangers they posed.
Tribes who opposed Proposition 27, the mobile and online gambling measure, said voters did not want a massive expansion of gambling, they thought it would be easier to become addicted and feared that children place bets on devices.
“Our internal poll has been clear and consistent for years: California voters do not support online sports betting,” said Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation Tribal Chairman Anthony Roberts. “Voters have real and significant concerns about every cell phone, laptop and tablet being turned into a gaming device, and the resulting addiction and exposure of children.”
Opponents of Proposition 26, which would have allowed casinos and the state’s four racetracks to offer in-person sports betting, said voters didn’t want to enrich wealthy tribes who would get a virtual monopoly on gambling. chance and may also offer roulette and dice games. to their gaming operations.
“Support. 26 was not just a sports betting measure, but a massive expansion of gambling by five wealthy tribes that included a poison pill aimed at taking market share from the highly regulated card rooms that supply millions of dollars in tax revenues to communities and tens of thousands of jobs,” the No to Proposition 26 campaign said in a statement.
This group was financed largely by the gambling halls which had the most to lose if the measure were adopted. They said the so-called “poison pill” would allow tribes to sue competitors such as card rooms.
Supporters of each measure did not return messages seeking comment.
The casino and racetrack measure was funded by a coalition of tribes who said a 10% tax would have helped pay for gambling law enforcement and programs to help drug addicts.
The online sports betting initiative has been backed by DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel – the latter is the official odds provider for The Associated Press – as well as other national sports betting operators and a few tribes.
They promised to channel tax revenue to help the homeless, the mentally ill and the poorer tribes who have not been enriched by the casinos.
The Office of the Nonpartisan Legislative Analyst found that both initiatives would increase state revenue, but it was unclear by how much. Proposition 26 could fetch tens of millions of dollars while Proposition 27 could fetch hundreds of millions, the bureau said.
However, these revenues could be offset if people spend money on sports betting instead of shopping or buying lottery tickets.
Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who easily won re-election, took no position on either proposal, but said Proposition 27 was “not a homeless initiative”.
The California Republican Party opposed both proposals. State Democrats opposed Proposition 27, but were neutral on Proposition 26. Major League Baseball supported Proposition 27.
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