Published on: August 5, 2022, 10:04 am.
Last update: August 5, 2022, 10:04 am.
Supporters of a measure to legalize sports betting at California tribal casinos scored a victory this week after a policy committee agreed to remove a quote from a longtime NAACP member from its argument against the measure.
The California-Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP filed a lawsuit in a Sacramento court on Tuesday after Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies, a group funded by casinos with state-licensed card rooms, included a quote from Minnie Hadley -Hempstead in his statement against Proposition 26. is set to appear in a voter’s guide published by the state about initiatives on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Hadley-Hempstead is a former president of the Los Angeles civil rights group, and the state conference came out in support of Proposition 26. In the lawsuit, the NAACP called the quote misleading.
Rather than have a court ruling on the matter, the card chamber-backed group agreed to the NAACP’s request. State Conference President Rick Callender said the card rooms “did the right thing” by removing the quote.
Despite the California-Hawaii NAACP’s strong support for Prop 26, opponents have tried to mislead voters into thinking otherwise,” Callender said. “Thankfully, voters will not be provided with this false and misleading quote in the official voter guide sent to every voter.”
Cardrooms oppose Proposition 26 because they argue that, if approved by voters, it would give tribal casino operators a monopoly on gambling. In addition to legalizing sports betting, Prop 26 would also legalize dice-based table games and roulette at tribal casinos.
The cardrooms also point out that the measure includes language that would allow tribal casinos or other entities to take the cardrooms to court alleging they are conducting illegal gambling activities. It’s a provision that could force card rooms to close, which could reduce revenue for California cities and lead to the loss of thousands of jobs.
Tribal gambling advocates say card casinos have nothing to worry about as long as they operate legally.
Animal welfare groups oppose Proposition 26
More opposition to Prop 26 surfaced Friday, though this time it had nothing to do with tribal gaming interests.
Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies issued a statement quoting representatives of several animal welfare organizations in the state. Their opposition comes from California’s four state-licensed racetracks, which would also get retail sportsbooks if Prop 26 passes.
California’s racing industry said sports betting at tracks would help round out its racing portfolio. Animal welfare advocates say tracks and riders need to focus instead on improving the sport’s safety record.
In recent years, California plays have come into the spotlight. Several high-profile kills have occurred there in recent years, including Medina Spirit last year at Santa Anita Park.
“Prop 26 gives a financial ‘shot’ to private horse racing tracks without any requirement or accountability to increase animal safety,” said Jill Tucker, CEO of the California Animal Welfare Association.
Two sports betting measures on the ballot
Prop 26 is one of two sports betting measures set to appear on the California ballot this year. The other is Proposition 27, which would legalize online sports betting at the state level. This measure is supported by seven national gambling operators.
Groups on both sides of the two measures have raised more than $230 million to get their messages to voters. The election is still more than three months away, and it’s almost certain to break records for campaign spending on ballot measures.