Gov. Newsom Speaks Out Against California Online Sports Betting Prop 27

Written By Matthew Kredell on October 26, 2022 - Last Updated on October 31, 2022

California Gov. Gavin Newsom finally took an official position on online sports betting Prop 27, saying Wednesday that he opposes the measure.

Politico broke the news of Newsom announcing his formal opposition and framed it as the last nail in the coffin for Prop 27. Newsom only took his stance after seeing that most of the state opposes the measure. The most recent independent polling has only 27% of Californian voters supporting Prop 27.

Newsom’s statement on Prop 27, per the Politico report:

“Proposition 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. Vote No on 27.”

Newsom ends silence on Prop 27

Newsom had been mostly silent on sports betting in California. In late-August, he stopped short of taking a stance on the measure but said Californians shouldn’t consider it a homelessness solution.

The Prop 27 campaign pitched the initiative as just that after initial polling indicated that homelessness was the biggest issue for Californians. Prop 27 earmarks 85% of the 10% tax revenue from sports betting to homelessness and mental health programs.

Speaking at an event for the homeless in Los Angeles, Newsom told reporters:

“I know initiatives and folks will say anything. Perhaps that initiative will provide a few dollars. I’m not supporting or opposing it, I haven’t given it a lot of thought, but it is not a homeless initiative. I know Angelenos can read between the lines and they know better.”

Other state political leaders already had publicly opposed Prop 27. The California Democratic Party came out against Prop 27 way back in July.

Senate President Pro Tempore Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced their opposition in August.

Stance disappointing for Prop 27 campaign

Newsom’s stance has to be disappointing the sports betting companies behind Prop 27, including DraftKings and FanDuel. They hired Newsom’s people to run their campaign.

According to Politico, Bearstar Strategies ran the Yes on Prop 27 campaign after serving as Newsom’s chief campaign strategists last year to defeat the recall attempt against him.

Nathan Click served as campaign communications director for Newsom before becoming the spokesman for Yes on Prop 27. Click also previously served as communications director for Newsom.

Click didn’t immediately return PlayCA‘s request for comment.

Newsom’s position echoes that of many California Indian tribes, which have spent hundreds of millions of dollars opposing Prop 27.

“Thanks to the governor for joining our broad, bipartisan coalition opposed to this deceptive online gambling proposition,” Kathy Fairbanks, spokesperson for one of the tribal No on 27 campaigns, told PlayCA. “Prop 27 benefits the out-of-state corporations at the expense of Californians.”

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Pala Band of Mission Indians and Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians led the other No on 27 campaign. San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena thanked the governor in a press release:

“California Tribes are grateful for Gov. Newsom’s opposition to Prop. 27. We thank him for standing with us to protect our sovereignty. Tribal gaming in California is beneficial for Tribes and for all of California. Prop. 27 would allow out of state corporations to interrupt that mutually beneficial relationship. Thank you, Gov. Newsom for defending the best interests of Tribes and all Californians.”

Photo by AP Photo / Rich Pedroncelli
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