Legal sports betting could be coming to California, and naturally, major sports leagues are paying close attention. One of them has just weighed in on Proposition 27, which would legalize online sports betting in California.
Major League Baseball praised certain parts of the California sports betting ballot initiative, which will be voted on this November. MLB stopped short of a full-throated endorsement of Prop. 27 in Friday’s press release but did provide a glowing review of some integrity initiatives.
MLB notes safeguards created by Prop. 27
The MLB statement includes the following notes:
“As legalized sports betting continues to expand across the country, Major League Baseball remains committed to protecting the integrity of its games and creating a safe experience for fans who wish to wager on those games. Proposition 27––the only measure on California’s upcoming ballot that would authorize and regulate online sports betting––includes strong integrity provisions designed to help MLB carry out those commitments. The measure would, for example, (1) require sports book operators to notify leagues of suspicious wagering activity, (2) allow leagues to propose restrictions on betting markets that are particularly susceptible to manipulation, and (3) facilitate other forms of integrity-related cooperation between the state, leagues, and operators.”
Predictably, the statement was met with gratitude from the Yes on Prop 27 campaign. Spokesman Nathan Click added:
“We appreciate MLB’s strong support for the sports integrity provisions in Prop. 27. Prop. 27 is the only measure that provides permanent solutions to homelessness and mental health in California, and it does so by creating a safe and responsible online sports market that is already working in more than half the country. By tackling illicit and illegal offshore sportsbooks and creating a safe and tightly regulated market, Prop. 27 will capture revenue currently flowing out of the country and redirect it to California communities in their fight against homelessness.”
Sides being taken in the California sports betting battle
Prop. 27 is one of two competing initiatives voters will see on the ballot this November. Proposition 26 would establish in-person sports betting at California tribal casinos and some California horse racing venues.
Both sides are hard at work to not just pass their initiative but defeat the other. California sports betting campaigns combined to spend more than $350 million through early August.
Groups across California are taking stands on both measures. Some non-profits that fight homelessness have supported Prop. 27, which would dedicate 85% of tax revenue to homeless and mental health support programs. Critics, meanwhile, say the measure benefits out-of-state corporations, such as DraftKings and FanDuel, and that mobile sports betting could expose children to problematic habits.
Prop. 26, meanwhile, recently received reiterated support from the NAACP, which won a legal victory earlier this month. No on 26 agreed to change ballot language implying the organization opposed the measure.
However, that measure isn’t without its detractors, either. Animal welfare activists oppose an additional revenue stream for horse racing venues. Additionally, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union called Prop. 26 a “poison pill” that threatens cardrooms and the local programs they support.