November 03, 2022

By Rick L. Callender

Contributing Writer


By now you’ve likely received your November ballot and are probably confused about the differences between the two sports wagering measures, Propositions 26 and 27.

When you look at the heart of each measure, there’s a reason social justice and civil rights groups are YES on Prop 26 and NO on Prop 27.

The California Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP has long been a steadfast ally in the fight for justice, sovereignty and sufficiency for California Indian tribes. For far too long, tribes have been excluded from the table of creating economic self-sufficiency. That’s why we support Prop 26 and oppose Prop 27.

Prop 26 will authorize highly regulated in-person sports wagering at Indian casinos – helping uplift tribal communities out of poverty, while generating tens of millions in new revenues for California to support state priorities like schools, healthcare access, affordable housing and more.

By authorizing this modest expansion of in-person gaming at Indian casinos, Prop 26 will promote tribal self-sufficiency and create new sources of revenue, jobs and opportunities for tribal communities, while generating additional resources for small and nongaming tribes.

Opponents would have you believe that Proposition 26 would harm local economies by forcing cardrooms out of business, when in fact the measure poses no threat to cardrooms that are operating lawfully. This deception shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Cardroom casinos have a deplorable track record of flouting the law. They’ve been fined millions for illegal gambling and other criminal and corruptive behavior like violating anti-money laundering laws and misleading regulators.

The other sports betting measure, Prop 27 is opposed by California Indian Tribes because it threatens tribal gaming and Indian self-reliance.

Prop 27 is sponsored by out-of-state gambling corporations and would authorize the largest expansion of online gambling in our nation’s history – turning every cell phone, laptop and tablet into a gambling device. Experts warn that online and mobile gambling is highly addictive and would increase the risks of gambling addiction among the most vulnerable in our state.

In fact, studies show that individuals living in poor and undeserved communities are most likely to engage in problem gambling, and Black Americans are more than twice as likely as their white counterparts to engage in problem gambling.

Further, Prop 27 has no meaningful safeguards to prevent against underage gambling – exposing our youth to gambling addiction.

To make matters worse, Prop 27 would send 90 percent of profits into the pockets of the out-of-state online gambling corporations behind the measure. Not a single penny of tax revenues would go to state and local priorities like public schools, access to healthcare, environmental justice programs or other priorities.

Supporters are deceptively trying to sell Proposition 27 as a “solution” to homelessness, but don’t be fooled. Only pennies on the dollar would go to homeless programs, if that.  And it is simply bad public policy to fund homelessness programs by legalizing a massive expansion of online gambling that will lead to further addiction and financial disparities among those who can least afford it.

Proposition 26 is the responsible choice for our communities because it will pump resources into services the communities that need it most, while Proposition 27 will solely benefit its out-of-state, corporate funders.

A host of social justice and civil rights groups have joined the NAACP as part of a broad coalition supporting Proposition 26 and opposing Proposition 27, including LULAC, La Raza Roundtable, and National Action Network – Los Angeles.

I urge you to join us by voting “Yes” on Proposition 26 and “No” on Proposition 27.

Rick L. Callender, Esq., is the president of the California/Hawaii State Conference NAACP.

Category: Opinion