Voters in California soundly rejected dueling sports-betting initiatives, which together raised more than $400 million, on Tuesday.
Proposition 26, put forth by many of the state’s Native American tribes, would have allowed for sports betting at tribal casinos and four racetracks in the state. Proposition 27 would have legalized online sports betting in California and was backed by big casinos and online operators such as DraftKings DKNG, -7.93% and Flutter’s FLTR, -3.69% FanDuel. With about 95% of precincts reporting Wednesday, about 70% had voted against Prop. 26 and about 84% had voted against Prop. 27, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
Prop. 27 had been expected to bring in potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue to the state, while Prop. 26 could have brought in tens of millions of dollars in additional tax revenue. The Prop. 26 campaign had promised some of that money would go toward research into problem gambling and mental health, while Prop. 27’s backers had vowed “a permanent solution” to ending homelessness.
Twenty-five states and Washington, D.C. have legalized online sports betting since the Supreme Court struck down a ban on sports betting in 2018.
The Prop. 27 campaign vowed to try again, sending a statement that reads in part: “Californians deserve the benefits of a safe, responsible, regulated, and taxed online sports betting market, and we are resolved to bringing it to fruition here.”
The Prop. 26 campaign’s statement mostly addressed the defeat of Prop. 27, which it said was its main goal: “Our campaign spent no money on traditional advertising in support of Prop. 26.”
The two ballot measures combined set a record for money raised for their campaigns, with the state’s biggest tribes spending most of what they raised on running ads against Prop. 27, which they said would mostly benefit out-of-state companies.
The previous record-holder for money raised was more than $200 million for Proposition 22, the California gig-worker ballot measure that was passed by voters in 2020 but later ruled unconstitutional and is now up in the air.