Compton Mayor: Prop 26’s Passage Would Harm Minorities

Written By Dave Champagne on October 6, 2022 - Last Updated on November 2, 2022
Compton mayor says Prop 26 would harm minorities

In a piece published in the Los Angeles Sentinel last month, Compton Mayor Emma Sharif details a worst-case scenario for cardrooms if Proposition 26 passes in November. Sharif points to a provision in Prop 26 that could be detrimental to minority communities in California.

Proposition 26 would allow in-person sports betting only at California tribal casinos and horse race tracks. Included in the initiative, however, is a provision that would open up cardrooms to direct litigation from tribes.

It’s this provision that Sharif thinks could shut down California cardrooms. And the impact of shuttered cardrooms across the state would be felt hardest by minorities, Sharif believes.

Prop 26 gives tribes more legal muscle

Citing an anticipated reduction in local services like addressing homelessness, senior services and also implementing green energy initiatives, Sharif points out that Prop 26 would change the state constitution to give private lawyers the power of the attorney general to shut down table games at licensed cardrooms through lawsuits.

After four such lawsuits failed in courts of appeal, Prop 26’s sponsors propose to boost their legal standing. They would gain a near-total monopoly on all California gaming, Sharif writes.

Mayor sees dire economic results if Prop 26 passes

Sharif says the impact on minority communities would be massive.

“The harm caused by Prop 26 is especially detrimental to Black and Hispanic communities in our city. Specifically, Compton cardrooms generate a total economic impact of more than $100 million and bring 562 jobs that pay $24 million in wages.  These jobs and revenue are essential for improving the quality of life for people living in Compton who often lack the economic opportunities afforded to other communities.”

Thousands of jobs across the state would be in jeopardy, according to Sharif.

“What’s worse, Los Angeles County will lose over 13,000 jobs and face a $2.29 billion hit in total economic impact. Statewide, we’re facing a loss of more than 32,000 jobs, $1.6 billion in wages, and $5.5 billion in total economic impact at-risk – meaning fewer funds for public health, homelessness services and senior centers.”

Supporter of Prop 26 says legal cardrooms are safe

In response, Kathy Fairbanks, a spokeswoman for the Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming, a group that backs one of two California sports betting initiatives, says there is no legal danger for lawful cardrooms.

“Our measure simply ensures existing laws preventing illegal gambling are being followed. Cardrooms following the law have nothing to worry about. Nor do their employees. Our measure will not shut down a single cardroom casino that’s operating legitimately.”

She says cardrooms operating illegally are promoting the misconception.

“The only cardroom casinos at risk of legal enforcement are those that repeatedly violate California gaming laws. Unfortunately, this myth is being pushed by a handful of cardroom casinos who have a well-documented track record of flouting the law.”

Both political parties oppose Prop 26

Sharif also points out that neither of the state’s two major political parties support Prop 26. She also lists other groups and organizations that oppose Prop 26, including the California Contract Cities Association, Disabled American Veterans and California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Sharif says a “no” vote on Prop 26 ensures the survival and continued success of cardrooms locally and statewide.

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Dave Champagne

Dave Champagne is a freelance writer with a wealth of varied experience with local newspapers, websites, and podcasts, gained in tandem with an ongoing I/T career spanning the better part of five decades. Based in upstate New York, Dave entertains himself with sports and horse race betting as well as the occasional attempt at tournament golf.

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