California Newspaper Slams Both Sports Betting Proposals

A Bay Area newspaper is urging voters to reject two competing sports betting proposals on the November ballot.

“The last thing California needs is more gambling,” the Mercury News said in a July 29 editorial.

“The state already has 66 tribal casinos, 84 card rooms, 33 horse racing facilities and 23,000 stores selling lottery tickets,” the San Jose newspaper said. San Jose is about an hour south of San Francisco. 

Under Proposition 26 on the Nov. 8 ballot, in-person sports betting would be allowed inside the state’s tribal casinos and four thoroughbred tracks, but not on mobile apps.

Proposition 27 would allow online bookmakers such as BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel to partner with tribes to make mobile apps available to sports bettors statewide.

If both pass, the one with the higher “yes” votes would be implemented. However, both could become law if it is determined that the two propositions are not in conflict with each other. A court likely would have to decide whether the two are in conflict. 

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Gaming Association Refutes Critics

The San Jose newspaper asserts that gambling “often leaves behind a wake of family financial devastation involving tens of thousands of dollars of debt.”

According to the Mercury News, a 2006 survey indicates that “nearly 4% of California adults were problem or pathological gamblers at some point in their lives.”

On its website, the American Gaming Association states that legal wagering provides protections not found on illegal websites and unregulated machines. 

“Whether online or in-store, illegal operators have no concerns about underage gambling and use no age verification,” the association states.

The association also contends most Americans gamble responsibly.

In a list of 2022 “Industry Talking Points,” the American Gaming Association states:

  • Three-quarters (78%) of past-year gamblers in the U.S. know at least one industry-provided responsible gambling resource.
  • Three-quarters (77%) of past-year gamblers point to specific measures like deposit limits, casino employee training, and wager limits as effective, responsible gaming policies.
  • Most customers enjoy gambling as a form of entertainment. 90% of casual bettors set a budget and stick to it.

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Legal Sports Betting Grows

Nationwide, sports betting is legal and live in 30 states. It is legal but not yet operational in five additional states. 

Early Monday, Massachusetts legislators reached an agreement to legalize sports betting within that state’s borders. Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has said he supports sports betting. If he signs a sports wagering bill into law, Massachusetts will become the 36th state with legal sports betting.

Right now, the most populous state with sports betting is New York, with more than 19.3 million residents. Since January, the state has collected $329 million in tax revenue from mobile sports betting alone.

Sports wagering proponents in New York and elsewhere have argued that states lose tax revenue when their residents use illegal apps or travel to jurisdictions where it is legal.

California, the nation’s most populous state, is home to 40 million people. If voters approve sports betting, it is expected to generate billions of dollars in legal wagers yearly.

Sports betting does not occur legally in the second and third most populous states, Texas and Florida.

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