Teachers Union Comes Out Against California Sports Betting Operator Initiative

Written By Matthew Kredell on May 26, 2022 - Last Updated on August 2, 2022
California Teachers Oppose Sports Betting

The California Teachers Association announced opposition to the online gambling proposition backed by sportsbook operators.

The announcement came Monday as the influential teachers union took positions on many propositions expected to make the November ballot.

Why does the teacher’s union oppose mobile sports gambling?

But the decision doesn’t necessarily reflect an opinion on the issue of online California sports betting as laid out in the initiative. The California Teachers Association (CTA) opposes any ballot measure that diverts revenue from the state general fund, which has a minimum requirement for education.

“Providing students with access to well-resourced public schools requires stable funding,” CTA President E. Toby Boyd said in the press release. “For that reason, we are committed to protecting the integrity of Prop. 98 which provides a minimum guarantee funding level. Educators took positions on ballot measures that reflect our values.”

The operator initiative has not yet qualified for the ballot. The campaign submitted signatures for verification at the beginning of the month. Local counties have until June 27 to review the signatures.

A unified voice for 310,000 educators at California public schools, the CTA is a powerful and passionate advocate for students and public education.

The CTA did not take a stance on the qualified in-person tribal sports betting initiative, which puts the 10% tax on sports wagering conducted by horse racetracks toward “general fund priorities related to education and public safety.” Any tribal revenue share to the general fund would be determined through amended compacts with the state.

Opposition based on funding choices

California Proposition 98 (1988) requires a minimum percentage of the state budget go toward K-12 education.

The operator initiative earmarks 85% of sports betting revenue toward funding programs related to homelessness and mental health services. So spokesman Nathan Click said the operators’ coalition expected the CTA opposition:

“CTA has a long-standing policy not to support measures that provide funding outside of the Prop 98 guarantee. Because of the importance of creating a dedicated statewide funding stream for homelessness and mental health, our measure ensures the maximum amount of revenue goes toward solutions for homelessness and mental health.

The teachers union also took positions against the Pandemic Warning System and Clean Cars & Air Act initiatives because they divert money from the Prop. 98 requirement in the general fund.

Click noted that, while losing the support of educators, the choice of revenue disbursement has support from many other organizations.

“It’s one of the reasons the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated our measure would provide hundreds of millions of dollars a year in funding to combat homelessness and expand mental health support,” Click said. “And why California mayors and leaders in the fight to solve homelessness support our initiative.”

Tribal coalition pleased with CTA position

The Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming that backs the tribal initiative also opposes the mobile sports gambling proposition.

The coalition celebrated the CTA opposition of the online initiative in a press release:

“Under their measure, out-of-state gambling corporations would profit billions off of online sports gambling, but not a single penny of tax revenues would be dedicated to public schools or education.”

The coalition added the CTA to a list of organizations that have come out in opposition to the operator initiative.

“We appreciate CTA joining our coalition,” said Kathy Fairbanks, spokesperson for the Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming. “CTA is a strong voice for California’s public schools and kids.”

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