Independent polling continues to show that California sports betting measures Prop 26 and Prop 27 are expected to fail at the ballot box in November.
A joint poll by the University of California-Berkeley and the LA Times released Tuesday showed just 27% of likely voters support Prop 27 (53% opposed,) compared to only 31% for Prop 26 (42% opposed.)
That outcome would leave the state without any form of legal CA sports betting.
Tribes: We win if both props fail
It would also be a significant triumph for the tribes, they say. As Victor Rocha, chairman of the Indian Gaming Association, wrote in a recent Twitter thread:
If both initiatives fail, the status quo prevails and the tribes win.
It’s over, Johnny. The tribes knew going after 27 would hurt 26 but not attacking was never an option.
Tribes, however, continue to pitch for Yes on 26 by going after cardrooms, with no mention of sports betting in this recent LA Times ad:
What CA status quo means for future
Regardless, as one industry insider told LSR last week, “it doesn’t look good” for tribal-backed Prop 26, which would legalize retail sports betting at tribal casinos, or Prop 27 passing.
Any future solution, via the 2023 legislative session and the 2024 ballot, would require buy-in from the tribes, who are flexing their political power muscle in CA.
Baring a surprise at the ballot box on Nov. 8, it appears tribes will get what they want: nothing at all. That leaves CA bettors to keep doing what they have been: going to the unregulated offshore market, their local bookie, or neighboring legal states Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon .
Prop 27 cuts TV ad spend, sign of retreat?
The sides have waged a multimillion-dollar advertising battle rife with misinformation, which has led to voter and industry frustration.
“I don’t think anybody believes either side,” an industry source told LSR. “You’re not going to solve homelessness, and this isn’t really about protecting tribal sovereignty.”
Recently, sportsbook-backed Prop 27, which would legalize online sports betting, cut its advertising spend in major CA markets.
“Them cutting their ad spending shows that they recognize that Prop 27 is on course to fail on Nov. 8 and be rejected by voters by a pretty big margin,” No on 27 spokesperson Kathy Fairbanks told LSR Monday.
Last week, Yes on 27 spokesperson Nathan Click told CaliforniaCasinos that the campaign is “undaunted.” The TV ad spend cut, Click said, was geared at now trying to target voters one-to-one with specific messaging via digital advertising and mail.