Temecula City Council Backs Sports Betting Prop 26, Opposes Prop 27

Written By JR Duren on September 6, 2022 - Last Updated on September 12, 2022
Temecula City Council votes 4-1 to support Prop 26 and oppose Prop 27

In a move seen as an act of solidarity with the local tribal community, the Temecula City Council voted 4-1 to support Proposition 26 and oppose Proposition 27.

Prop 26 and Prop 27 are the two California sports betting initiatives on November’s ballot. Prop 26 is supported by dozens of tribes and leaders in several towns and cities in the state. If passed, sports betting would be legal only at California tribal casinos and California horse racing venues.

Prop 27, on the other hand, would allow online sports betting across the state. Major sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings back the measure. Most tribes in California oppose it, though a few have endorsed it along with leaders in some major cities in the state.

Director of Legislative Affairs Randi Johl-Olson said the League of California Cities requested that Temecula oppose Prop 27.

It was requested that the city of Temecula go ahead and take an opposed position on 27, which is consistent with what the League of California Cities and other cities have done throughout the state, and for our purposes given our relationship with our tribal communities, support position for Proposition 26.”

Councilmember Jessica Alexander voted no on the resolution, while councilmembers Maryann Edwards, Matt Rahn, James Stewart and Zak Schwank voted yes.

Pechanga rep pushes for support of Prop 26

Johl-Olson introduced the sports betting segment of the meeting. She then welcomed Jacob Mejia, vice president of public and external affairs of Pechanga Development Corporation.

Mejia explained Prop 26, then noted that the Pechanga Band of Indians is a sponsor of the proposition. He railed against Prop 27, pointing to out-of-state interests.

“They’re attempting to basically unleash the biggest expansion of online and mobile gaming in US.history. That’s why over 55 tribes and growing are opposed to Prop 27. It’s bad policy; it’s bad for California, it’s bad for our economy, it’s bad for tribes, and it’s bad for our kids. And so, we’d ask for your consideration for a yes on 26 and a no on 27.”

Alexander says she can’t support resolution

Councilmember Jessica Alexander was the only member to vote against the resolution.

After Mejia pleaded his case, Alexander responded. She said it was not her place to offer her opinion on the matter. But she didn’t abstain.

I so appreciate the relationship and support we have from our … tribal community. They’re a huge importance in our community. I just want to be able to take the position just as a councilmember that because it’s going to be on a statewide ballot measure, I don’t think it’s my duty to speak out for the people. And they’re going to be able to speak out yes or no for it.”

Temecula breaks from League of Cities on 26

Temecual’s vote to support Prop 26  was a departure from the California League of Cities’ “neutral” vote on the initiative.

The break is understandable. The Pechanga Band operates a sprawling resort and casino in Temecula. Cardrooms are virtually non-existent in the area.

The League of Cities, however, represents several communities that have no casinos but are home to multiple card rooms. And card rooms fear that legalizing in-person sports betting will pull revenue away from their operations.

Earlier this year, Fresno city leaders spoke out against Prop 26  because they were worried about its impact on California cardrooms. Councilmember Mike Karbassi said Prop 26 would be “an absolute disaster” for the Central Valley.

Fellow councilmember Luis Chavez said the proposition would jeopardize the public service funding and jobs that cardrooms provide.

Photo by Shutterstock
JR Duren Avatar
Written by
JR Duren

J.R. Duren has covered the gambling beats for more than a dozen states for Catena Media since 2015. His past reporting experience includes two years at the Villages Daily Sun, and he is a first-place winner at the Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Contest.

View all posts by JR Duren
Privacy Policy