California Mobile Sports Betting Initiative Gains Backing of Major League Baseball

California Mobile Sports Betting Initiative Gains Backing of Major League Baseball
By Christopher Boan
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The organizers behind Prop. 27, which aims to legalize mobile California sports betting, scored a major endorsement Friday.

The aforementioned endorsement came from Major League Baseball, which announced its support of the measure in a league-issued press release.

The league’s statement discussed how Prop. 27, or the California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act, would fulfill its sports betting standards, such as providing stringent oversight of suspicious wagers and prevent wagering manipulation.

Prop. 27 is one of two sports betting bills on the November ballot — Prop. 27 is backed by national operators like DraftKings and FanDuel and would legalize online sports betting, while (Prop. 26), organized by some of the state’s Indian tribes, would expand their casino gaming and allow them to offer retail sports betting. 

“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. MLB believes that Prop 27 has the safeguards to create a safe and responsible online sports betting market in California — a state with millions of MLB fans looking for alternatives to illegal offshore betting sites.”

When and if mobile sports betting is legalized in the state, BetCalifornia will be the place for California sportsbook promos.

A Win for CA Online Sports Betting Organizers

The endorsement of MLB is a much-needed win for Prop. 27’s organizers after several high-level legislators and groups came out against the measure in the last few weeks.

State legislators, including Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Senate President Pro Temp. Tom Atkins, and Republican leaders James Gallagher (State Assembly) and Scott Wilk (State Senate) have come out in opposition.

Additionally, the California Democratic Party’s Resolutions Committee came out against Prop. 27 earlier this month, joining the California Teachers Association in their opposition of the measure.

A total of 24 California tribes, in addition to three labor unions (the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, Deputy Sheriff’s Association of San Diego County, and the San Diego Police Officers Association), and 17 California-based organizations have come out in support of Prop. 26.

That measure, also known as the Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative, would allow tribes in the state and race tracks to offer retail sports betting only, while legalizing roulette and dice games at tribal casinos.

Earlier this summer, a trio of Northern California tribes came out in support of Prop. 27. The Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians, the Big Valley Rancheria Band of Pomo Indians, and the Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe announced they were endorsing the online betting measure.

Additionally, mayors of Fresno (Jerry Dyer), Long Beach (Robert Garcia), Oakland (Libby Schaaf), and Sacramento (Darrell Steinberg) have come out in support of Prop. 27.

So far, Prop. 27’s backers have raised more than $100 million to get the measure across the finish line.

The supporters of Prop. 26, meanwhile, have raised more than $114 million, making the issue one of the most expensive proposition battles in California history. The top donors to Prop. 26 are the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians, and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

Given the money spent by both sides, the California sports betting initiative advertising battle has been fierce.

If both measures are passed in November, they would govern sports betting in the state concurrently. Experts, however, expect legal challenges after Election Day no matter the result. As of now, it's tough to say when CA residents will be able to place bets on things like Caleb Williams Heisman odds

What Backers of Each CA Sports Betting Initiative Have to Say

Nathan Click, who serves as a spokesperson for Prop. 27, said in a statement to BetCalifornia.com the support from Major League Baseball is much appreciated and stressed the initiative's goal of funding homelessness solutions.

“We appreciate MLB’s strong support for the sports integrity provisions in Prop. 27. Prop 27 is the only measure that creates permanent solutions to homelessness and mental health for Californians, and it does so by creating a safe and responsible online sports market that is already working in more than half the country,” the statement reads. “By tackling illicit and illegal offshore sports books 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.”

Kathy Fairbanks, who serves as spokesperson for the “Yes on 26 and No on 27 campaigns” said in a statement to BetCalifornia.com the tribal sports betting side has made their voice loud and clear on the subject of wagering in the state.

“A large and growing coalition of Indian Tribes, social justice advocates, teachers, parents, homeless and mental health advocates, business, public safety and labor leaders all strongly oppose Prop. 27,” Fairbanks’ statement reads. “The measure would legalize a massive expansion of online gambling that will turn every cell phone, laptop, gaming console and tablet into a gambling device. Worse, there’s no fool-proof way to ensure kids aren’t gambling online. The out-of-state gambling corporations funding Prop 27 wrote it, so they take 90% of the profits out of state, leaving little for California. We’re confident voters will reject this deceptive, dangerous measure in November.”

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Contributors

Christopher Boan
Reporter / Journalist

Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetCalifornia.com, specializing in sports betting issues in the western United States. He's covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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