2022 California Sports Betting Ballot Measure Comparison

Written By Matthew Kredell on July 23, 2022 - Last Updated on May 16, 2023
CA Tribal Poll Opposes Online and Mobile Sports Betting in California

Californians will find two sports betting initiatives on the ballot in November. The CA Secretary of State made that official June 30 by certifying the initiatives as qualified for next month’s general election.

The battle is shaping up as online versus in-person sports betting in California, but there’s a lot more to the two initiatives.

The Secretary of State assigned proposition numbers to the initiatives, making Proposition 26 for in-person tribal wagering and Proposition 27 for online and mobile sports wagering. They are among seven propositions on the ballot.

Proponents and opponents have contributed more than $457 million, making it the most expensive ballot question in the history of American politics.

Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of each initiative including its details, arguments for and against, ad campaigns and key quotes.

Editor’s note: Both props failed on the California ballot in November 2022. Check back to our California Sports Betting Propositions page for further developments

The 2022 California Sports Betting Initiatives

Prop 26: In-Person Tribal Sports Wagering Measure

  • Limits sports betting to in-person only at 66 tribal casinos and four horse racing venues located around the state.
  • Bettors must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Does not allow wagering on California college teams, such as USC and UCLA.
  • In addition to sports betting, allows tribal casinos to offer craps and roulette.
  • Following passage of the ballot measure, the governor would need to work out amended compacts with each tribe to include sports wagering.
  • Taxes horse racetracks at 10% of sports wagering activity and sends that revenue to a new California Sports Wagering Fund. Any tribal revenue sharing would get worked out when amending compacts with the state. Includes no licensing fees.
  • Allocates 15% of revenue toward problem gambling programs.
  • State fiscal analysis projects revenue in the tens of millions.
  • Includes language relating to the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) opening up the possibility for tribes to directly sue California cardrooms over alleged violations of California gaming laws.

Prop 27: Online Operator Sports Wagering Measure

  • Authorizes online sports wagering on professional and college sports, including California college teams. All online sportsbooks must partner with a federally recognized Indian tribe.
  • Bettors must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Potential number of online platforms is limited to the number of federally recognized Indian tribes in California (109). However, requirements for online sports wagering operator licenses will limit market to less than 20 sportsbook apps.
  • $100 million initial license fee for mobile sports betting operators, renewable every five years for $10 million.
  • Tribes can develop their own online platform under the name of the tribe or tribal casino for a $10 million initial fee. It’s renewable every five years for $1 million.
  • Online platforms must also be licensed to operate sportsbooks in at least 10 US states or territories, or five states along with operating/managing 12 physical casinos in the US.
  • Online wagers must be placed by someone physically within the boundaries of California but outside Indian lands.
  • 10% tax rate on gross gaming revenue paid by the operator, or a tribe that develops its own platform.
  • Operators may deduct 20% of the initial license fee from taxes paid in each of the first five years.
  • State fiscal analysis projects revenue in the mid-hundreds of millions.
  • 85% of sports betting tax revenue goes toward homelessness and mental health support programs.
  • 15% of mobile sports betting revenue goes toward economic development and assistance to tribal nations that don’t participate in sports wagering.
  • Language in the measure specifies that it is not in conflict with the in-person tribal initiative, with the intent that both could pass and take effect together. But that could get challenged in court.

Arguments for each CA sports betting initiative

Here are some of the arguments proponents make in favor of their initiatives.

In-Person Tribal Sports Wagering Measure

  • Expands gaming options for California tribes, for which tribal gaming is the main economic engine driving self-sufficiency. The revenue generated by tribal gaming over the past 20 years has empowered California’s tribes to provide vital services like health care, housing, infrastructure and education to tribal members.
  • Provides horse racetracks with a new way to attract patrons to their facilities.
  • Takes an incremental approach to sports wagering, starting it in-person at established California gaming facilities.

Online Operator Sports Wagering Measure

  • Would produce much more revenue for the state than having sports wagering in-person only, potentially hundreds of millions of dollars compared to tens of millions.
  • Most of that revenue would go toward fighting homelessness, a major issue across California.
  • Provides the state’s first permanent source of funding to fight homelessness.
  • Mobile wagering best captures the large black market of people already betting on sports in California and brings them over to a regulated market.

Arguments against each CA sports betting initiative

Here are some of the arguments opponents make against the initiatives.

In-Person Tribal Sports Wagering Measure

  • Limiting sports wagering to in-person produces little revenue for the state.
  • Rather than drive to a tribal casino or racetrack to place a bet, many Californians would continue wagering through illegal offshore websites.
  • PAGA provisions could allow tribal interests to sue cardrooms out of business.
  • Impact on cardrooms would cause cuts to community programs and services in California cities that depend heavily on card room revenue.

Online Operator Sports Wagering Measure

  • Profits out-of-state gambling companies most of all.
  • High cost of entry limits the number of operators who could serve the nation’s largest market and population.
  • Partnership requirements with online sportsbooks could violate the sovereignty of California Indian tribes.
  • Diverting revenue to fight homelessness does not contribute to the general fund and support public education.

Supporters of each CA sports betting initiative

In-Person Tribal Sports Wagering Measure

Support of the tribal sports wagering measure starts with a coalition of 25 Native American tribes, led by:

  • Pechanga Band of Luiseño Mission Indians
  • Barona Band of Mission Indians
  • Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians
  • Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation

It continues to include social justice organizations such as the California/Hawaii branch of the NAACP, public safety groups such as California District Attorneys Association and San Diego Police Officers Association, and many chambers of commerce in areas with tribal casinos.

Here’s a full list of organizations that have come out in support of the tribal initiative.

Online Operator Sports Wagering Measure

The online sports betting initiative is backed by seven companies interested in operating mobile sports wagering apps in California:

  • DraftKings
  • FanDuel
  • BetMGM
  • Bally’s Interactive
  • Fanatics
  • Penn National Gaming
  • WynnBET

Key supporters include:

  • Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians
  • Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians
  • Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe
  • Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
  • Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff
  • Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia
  • Elise Buik, President and CEO, United Way of Greater Los Angeles
  • California Black Chamber of Commerce
  • Major League Baseball (which stopped short of a full endorsement)
  • More than a dozen homelessness and housing service organizations

Opponents of each CA sports betting initiative

In-Person Tribal Sports Wagering Measure

Local governments and elected officials from many cities supported by card rooms oppose the in-person tribal sports betting initiative for the PAGA provision that threatens card rooms with lawsuits.

These include the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) California, California Contract Cities Association representing 74 cities, and mayors of Compton and Commerce. The California Republican Party also opposes Prop 26. Here’s the full list.

In addition, both Northern California’s San Jose Mercury News and Southern California’s Orange County Register have come out against Prop 26.

Online Operator Sports Wagering Measure

Two tribal coalitions run no campaigns against the online operator sports betting initiative. Each have compiled a list of organizations opposed to the corporate online gambling proposition.

Among those opposed are:

Quotes in support of each CA sports betting initiative

In-Person Tribal Sports Wagering Measure

“We’re confident voters will support the Tribal Sports Wagering Act, which will allow in-person sports betting at highly regulated tribal casinos and licensed horse racing tracks in California. It represents a responsible, incremental approach to allowing sports wagering in California without the risks of opening up every connected device to online gambling.”

-Tribal Chairman Kenneth KahnSanta Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

“I’ve seen first-hand the transformative impacts tribal gaming has had on our people – providing funding for essential services like housing, healthcare, infrastructure and education. The in-person, Tribal Sports Wagering Act will allow Indian tribes to build on this legacy as the responsible stewards of gaming in California.”

Chairman Anthony Roberts, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation

“For far too long have the tribes been excluded from the table of creating economic self-sufficiency. The California – Hawaii NAACP has stood with California Indian tribes in their fight to establish and protect gaming on their own tribal lands. Our support of the Tribal Sports Wagering Act – which authorizes regulated sports wagering, in person at Tribal Casinos – is consistent with that long-standing position for disenfranchised communities of color to become self-sufficient.”

-Rick L. Callender, President of the California Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP

“Latino and Indigenous communities have a deeply intertwined history of oppression and being treated as second-class citizens in California. Tribal gaming has given California’s Indian tribes the resources to fight through generational poverty, oppression and disenfranchisement. The in-person, Tribal Sports Wagering Act will empower tribes to create new economic opportunities for their members and all Californians through safe, responsible sports wagering.”

-Dolores Huerta, labor and civil rights leader

Online Operator Sports Wagering Measure

“This ballot measure would give cities like Fresno a guaranteed funding source to address homelessness. To truly solve this critical issue and give those most vulnerable among us the housing, mental health and addiction treatment they need, there must be an ongoing revenue stream. This initiative would do just that.”

-Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer

“The Solutions Act would be life-changing for our people. For too long, rural and economically disadvantaged tribes like ours have struggled to provide for our people. This measure would provide us with economic opportunities to fortify our Tribe’s future for generations to come.”

-Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians Chairman Philip Gomez

“Don’t believe those false attacks. The Solutions Act protects tribal sovereignty and will allow every tribe — not just those with big casinos close to big cities — a chance to directly benefit from online sports betting in California. The measure puts tribes firmly in control of online sports betting in California.”

-Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians Chairman Jose “Moke” Simon

“Let’s be honest, homelessness is California’s largest crisis. It’s a moral crisis, and we need to think both creatively and long-term about how to solve it. This initiative helps do that by generating hundreds of millions of dollars in badly needed revenue, all without raising taxes on residents.”

-Quintin Mecke, director of policy and homelessness strategies, EveryOne Home

Quotes in opposition of each CA sports betting initiative

In-Person Tribal Sports Wagering Measure

“Pure and simple, the qualified tribal gaming initiative is a direct attack on Los Angeles communities. It has a specific provision that would allow for limitless lawsuits against card rooms. This provision will severely harm our communities unfairly as we rely on their good-paying jobs and economic benefits, including revenues generated to fund programs and services serving homeless, housing and senior citizens.”

-Compton Mayor Emma Sharif

“Cities across California oppose the qualified tribal gaming initiative because it is the only sports wagering measure that will cause direct harm to our ability to fund the services and opportunities our residents rely on – from parks and recreation to police and fire. California cities that depend on the revenues generated through legal gaming at cardrooms would be devastated by the impact cardroom closures would have on municipal budgets and the vital services they fund.”

Oralia Rebollo, Mayor for the City of Commerce

“The qualified tribal gaming initiative encourages frivolous lawsuits that threaten thousands of well-paying jobs, veteran-owned businesses and the ability of municipalities to fund vital emergency services including police, ambulance and fire. Many of our members rely on work in emergency services after their military service to provide for their families and give back to their communities. Disabled American Veterans stands on the side of safer neighborhoods and healthier communities.”

-Mike Kerr, Commander, Disabled American Veterans

Online Operator Sports Wagering Measure

“In 2000, Californians voted to give sovereign Indian nations the exclusive right to operate gaming in California. The online sports betting measure sponsored by out-of-state corporations violates that promise of sovereignty, which has worked exceptionally well now for over two decades to the benefit of the tribes and California.”

-Roger Salazar, spokesman, Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming

“The Corporate Online Gambling Proposition would legalize online and mobile sports gambling — turning virtually every cell phone, laptop, tablet and gaming console into a gambling device, increasing the risks of underage and problem gambling.”

-Tribal Chairman Cody Martinez, Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

“As we so clearly learned with the State Lottery and our public schools, it’s simply bad public policy to attempt to fund homelessness and mental health programs with promises of a small piece of the online gambling corporations’ profits. Unhoused Californians need help, but this is not the right way to do it. We’ve heard these empty promises before.”

Paul Boden, executive director, Western Region Advocacy Project

“The Corporate Online Gambling Proposition is misguided and dangerous. This measure is a direct attack on Indian self-sufficiency that would also expose youth and the disadvantaged to the perils of online gambling. We are no strangers to corporations seeing California as nothing more than a piggy bank to extract wealth at the expense of the disadvantaged. That’s why I urge all Californians to oppose this deceptive online gambling scheme.”

-Dolores Huerta, labor and civil rights leader

“I am concerned that Prop 27 sends sports betting revenues to out-of-state corporations who wrote the measure to maximize their profits. Californians should vote no on 27 and support California tribes over out-of-state corporations.”

-Anthony Rendon, CA Assembly Speaker


The Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming supports the tribal in-person initiative and opposes the online operator measure. Here are its ad campaigns: https://noon27.com/videos/

Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support campaigns for the online operator initiative. The campaign calls the measure the Solutions Act. Here are its Yes on 27 advertisements: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCspxQT7Sjx1mTizTXggG8iw

Protect Tribal Sovereignty & Safe Gaming is another tribal coalition made up from tribes who want to do tribal-run online sports wagering through an initiative in 2024. Here are its ad campaigns: https://www.noprop27.org/videos

Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies is the no campaign to the tribal in-person initiative sponsored by California card rooms. Here are its arguments: https://tasimcoalition.org/facts/

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