California Voters Defeat Both Prop 26 And Prop 27 Tuesday

Written By Derek Helling on November 9, 2022
midterm election california prop 27 26

California sports betting, in all its forms, will remain illegal. On Tuesday, voters across the state resoundingly said no to both California Prop 27 and Prop 26, either of which would have set up different but divergent systems for legal sports betting in California.

Proponents of both measures will now have to reconsider their strategies in order to get their desired results. The campaigns supporting both of these measures obviously fell far short of producing the requisite voter support.

Voters reject California Prop 27 and Prop 26

The Associated Press has projected that both Prop 26 and Prop 27 have failed by significant margins. Tabulation from the California Secretary of State‘s office shows Prop 26 receiving about 29.9% and Prop 27 getting around 16.6% of the vote in their favor.

Proposition 27 would have legalized online sports betting in most of California. The campaigns to persuade voters to come down on either side of the measure drew the most investment ever. Proponents on both sides spent nearly half a billion dollars on messaging.

Prop 26 would have authorized tribal casinos and race tracks in the state to accept sports bets on their premises. While the messaging around this proposal was not as robust, the negative messaging focused on a separate facet of the measure.

Groups endorsing a “no” vote on Prop 26 pointed to the measure’s civil enforcement provision. It would have given any California citizen standing to file a lawsuit against any entity in the state they believe was in violation of California’s gambling laws.

The argument was that such a change would threaten the viability of card rooms in the state. For Prop 27, the negative messaging was a little more diverse.

Propaganda dooms Prop 27

Attack ads taking aim at Prop 27 made use of several points of misinformation, from claims that the proposal would ship 90% of revenue out of California to a premise that the measure would cause a spike in youth gambling addiction. Additionally, opponents characterized Prop 27 as an attack on tribal sovereignty.

Despite those messages representing half-truths, they were effective. Attempts to dispel the propaganda fell flat and proponents actually scaled back their spending with weeks to go before the election.

There is now nothing for the advocates for the changes Prop 26 and Prop 27 suggested to do but review what went wrong. If they are to try again in 2024, they will need a far superior strategy. The bottom line for Californians is that the status quo on sports betting in California will remain entrenched for the foreseeable future.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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