Proposition 26 is a ballot measure which changes the California Constitution to allow for in-person sports betting at four tribal casinos, and dice games at a licensed horse race track. It also provides the state with new revenue from sports betting. However, the actual cost of legalizing sports wagering will likely be a wash.
Influx of revenue
Luckily for those who favor a more holistic approach to gambling regulation, the proposition has a silver lining. The influx of revenue will help pay for a variety of gambling-related programs. Plus, it’s a win-win for casino operators. Since cardrooms aren’t subject to the same taxes as their non-Native American peers, they will be able to operate with a degree of freedom.
Of course, the true cost of sports betting will be decided by how the law is implemented. For instance, would the costs of civil enforcement be low or high? And would the increased state revenues from legalized sports wagering offset any additional costs?
Proponents of the measure claim that the bill is a necessary step to ensure self-sufficiency for American Indian tribes. Yet, opponents argue that the passage will lead to more compulsive gamblers, increased local government spending, and higher taxes.
Aside from being a bit of a misnomer, the state has already been flooded with legal and illegal sports bets. Legalizing sports wagering could bring the state some much needed cash. But it’s also likely to make the state’s gambling problems worse, since the money will be used to support more illegal activities.