California gambling ballot initiatives flood TV screens and confuse voters ahead of November election

LOS ANGELES (KABC) – In November, you may see a number of in-game voting initiatives and you may find them all a bit confusing.

Screens are flooded with numerous advertisements online and on TV about the movement’s voting measures that would legalize sports betting.

However, so far few ads hit the airwaves for a particular measure so much as they oppose it.

“It’s bad for the tribes and bad for all Californians,” one ad said.

This was on full display during a press conference at Commerce on Thursday morning.

“We’re asking voters to vote no on the only eligible tribal gaming initiative in the November ballot.”

The initiative that people are worried about is called the California Sports Betting Regulations and Illegal Gambling Law which is pushed by many Native American casinos.

This would legalize sports betting on their casino property, but it would also open the door for tribes to sue casinos that flout the law.

READ MORE: CA’s online sports betting initiative would direct money to help mental health services for the homeless

A group is concerned that Native American casinos are open to hunting down card rooms at places like The Commerce Casino.

“It contains a specific provision that would allow lawsuits against gambling halls, and even patrons at gambling halls, as a means of shutting them down,” said Compton Mayor Emma Sharif.

If the casinos were to close, it could be devastating for some of these communities.

“Forty-six percent of [Bell Gardens’] general fund revenue comes from our casino,” said Bell Gardens City Council Member Alejandra Cortez.

However, there is another gambling initiative that voters might see on the ballot that would legalize online and mobile sports betting, but it doesn’t mention any of that in the headline.

Instead it is called California Homelessness and Mental Health Solutions Act.

Rob Stutzman is a spokesperson for a group called Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming and he opposes this measure.

“Yes, they promise money to fight homelessness, and if you look at the fine print, 90% of those dollars go out of state, and then the pennies that are left are chopped through other loopholes,” said Stutzman. “Essentially, you’re looking at maybe a 3% increase in the amount of money the state currently spends on homelessness.”

Ultimately, one initiative would make online sports betting legal in California, the other would make it legal only for tribal casinos and racetracks.

Only the second is eligible for a ballot at the moment, but it is likely that the other will also be in June.

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