California Governor Opposes Mobile Sports Betting Plan

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California Governor Opposes Mobile Sports Betting Plan
© USA Today

With the November election on the horizon, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has come out against Proposition 27 to allow mobile sports betting statewide.

The Democratic governor told the Politico website that Prop 27 “is bad for California.”

"It would hurt California's Indian Tribes, increase the risks of underage gambling, and push billions of dollars out of California and into the pockets of out-of-state corporations,” Newsom said.

Prop 27, backed by national online bookmakers such as DraftKings and FanDuel, is one of two competing sports betting ballot questions facing California voters on Nov. 8.

The other, Prop 26, would legalize in-person sports betting at 66 tribal casinos and four horse tracks, but not on mobile apps. It is supported by the state’s major tribes.  

Both sides combined have spent more than $440 million, a record amount in California, on television advertising and other voter outreach efforts. 

Statewide, 19 major newspapers, including the Sacramento Bee, Los Angeles Times and Orange County Register, are opposed to both sports betting ballot questions.

However, Major League Baseball, with five teams in California, has endorsed the integrity provisions in Prop 27, noting the provisions would require sportsbook operators to notify leagues of suspicious wagering activity.

If approved, either sports wagering proposal would allow legal sports betting in California activities, including major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and World Series.

Polls Shows Voter Opposition

Both sports betting propositions appear headed for defeat in November. 

A poll that the University of California, Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies conducted in late September asked respondents how they would vote on each sports betting proposition. Here are the answers:

Prop 26

  • 42% no
  • 31% yes
  • 27% undecided.

Prop 27 

  • 53% no
  • 27% yes
  • 20% undecided

The survey notes that most subgroups oppose Prop 27. These groups include Democrats and Republicans, men and women, and voters in each of the state’s eight major regions. California is the nation’s most populated state. 

“The only subgroup currently supporting the initiative is among younger voters, and especially those under age 30, who are voting yes 44% to 33%,” the survey states.

Opposition to Prop 26 also is broad based, although “not to the same extent as Prop. 27.”

The survey notes that a “gender gap” exists regarding Prop 26, with women opposed “nearly two to one.”

“Age also plays a role,” according to the survey. Voters age 65 or older oppose Prop 26 nearly three to one.

In Newsom’s bid for re-election this year, the university poll shows the incumbent governor leading Republican Brian Dahle by 53% to 32%.

Battle Shaping Up For 2024

At the recent Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, Jason Robins, CEO of Boston-based DraftKings, predicated there will be momentum to approve mobile sports betting during the 2024 election cycle in California.

At the same gaming convention, Victor Rocha, editor of, said the tribes will “always fight like it’s our last fight” to keep national online bookmakers out of California.

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Larry Henry

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