weather icon Clear

Tribes, sportsbooks expecting 2 California gaming initiatives to fail

With less than a month to go before November’s general election, proponents and opponents of two sports-wagering initiatives in California believe neither will pass.

That may provide a short-term reprieve for Nevada sportsbooks as backers of Propositions 26 and 27 regroup in anticipation of both ballot measures losing. Last week, both were behind in polls.

Representatives of California tribes on Tuesday discussed the outlook of the two measures in a panel at the four-day Global Gaming Expo at The Venetian.

“It doesn’t look great for either proposition,” said James Siva, chairperson of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.

He said proponents of Proposition 27, online sports-betting companies led by FanDuel and DraftKings, have spent more than $450 million in support of the initiative.

In a keynote speech featuring FanDuel CEO Amy Howe and DraftKings founder and CEO Jason Robins earlier in the day, both said they’d “live to fight another day” in California, acknowledging that confusion over both initiatives and the tribes’ opposition to their online betting plan would likely result in defeat.

When both initiatives qualified for the ballot, analysts had predicted that either of them would face an uphill battle.

Proposition 26, the tribe-backed measure, would introduce new casino games to California’s tribal casinos in addition to sports betting. Commercial-gaming-backed Proposition 27 would allow for sports betting on apps.

Tribal opposition to Prop 27 sealed its defeat, said panelist Jacob Mejia, director of public affairs for the Pechanga Development Corp., affiliated with the Pechanga Band of Indians in Temecula, California.

Panelist Sara Dutschke, chairperson of the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, said Californians generally have been supportive of the tribes and their casinos so she isn’t surprised that polls indicate Prop 27 may lose. But because of the confusion of the dueling initiatives, it appears Prop 26 may also go down.

Siva said the commercially backed initiative is viewed as out-of-state companies taking money from the state while the tribal casinos support members of their respective tribes.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.