Sports betting should be legal, but vote no on Proposition 27 – Orange County Register


This Editorial Board strongly supports the legalization of online sports gaming, which is legal in some form (or pending) in 26 states with no unusual harmful effects. Eight other states allow sports betting at a casino or licensed sports betting outlet. Largely due to the power of tribal gambling interests, California does not allow it in any form.

Americans love gambling and the vast majority of gamblers do so responsibly, which is reason enough to allow it as widely as the market demands. It is better to allow Californians to bet, for example, on football matches on highly regulated sites than on illegal offshore sites that lack supervision.

Readers may have seen ads, funded by $364 million in contributions, about two measures in November that would legalize sports betting. We opposed Proposition 26, which is a cynical measure promoted by the vast majority of state tribes to ban online sports betting and give them (and racetracks) a monopoly on in-person sports betting.

Its passage would destroy hopes of legalizing online sports betting and give tribes the legal tools to harass their longtime competitors (card rooms). We support the goals of competing Proposition 27, which allows sports betting on the Internet and mobile devices and directs revenue to public homelessness programs.

As usual, the devil is in the details. Unfortunately, proponents have designed it so that only the big game companies can control the action. Most other states that allow online sports betting charge relatively modest license fees, while this measure requires a whopping $100 million fee for a license — plus $10 million with each renewal. Companies would pay 10% of gross proceeds to the state.

The initiative also requires online operators to be active in 10 states and partner with a local tribe. Voters might say, “That means game companies are willing to pay to fund state programs.” In reality, these are anti-competitive measures that would weed out new entrants and allow big companies to gain a virtual monopoly in the nation’s largest gambling market.

The proper role of state gaming regulation is to ensure that the operator pays as promised, is not involved in crime syndicates, and operates transparently. So there is room for some sort of bond and fee requirement, but it would have to be low enough (as in Nevada) to allow legitimate newcomers to participate. Prop. 27 also gives a state office the power to collect the names of people who bet on unlicensed sites, which is intrusive and frightening.

We are also taken aback by the inconclusive way in which the supporters present this initiative. “Proposition 27 is the ONLY permanent funding solution for California’s homelessness and mental health crises,” says the Yes on 27 site. Yet the homeless component is a side issue, and there is little income is likely to dent the larger problem.

Four years ago, the United States Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports betting, which explains the resulting state activity in this space. But it’s crucial that California gets it right — given that any rules voters approve now will likely remain in place for decades. We urge a ‘no’ vote on Proposition 27 in the hope that online betting supporters will come back with something more reasonable.

Source link

Back To Top