Staff members at the San Bernardino Registrar of Voters organize sealed ballot envelopes into a high speed electronic sorting machine that will capture the barcodes and signatures.
Staff members at the San Bernardino Registrar of Voters organize sealed ballot envelopes into a high speed electronic sorting machine that will capture the barcodes and signatures. Credit: Aryana Noroozi, Black Voice News Newsroom / CatchLight Local, November 2, 2022

Last Updated on November 7, 2022 by BVN

Aryana Noroozi |

If passed by voters on November 8, 2022, Proposition 27 will allow for licensed tribes and gaming companies to offer mobile and online sports betting in California. 

Currently, racehorse betting is the only form of sports betting permitted in California. Proposition 27 would allow anyone over the age of 21 anywhere in the state to be able to wager via mobile device on sporting events and other events including awards shows and video gaming competitions. 

The initiative is backed by some of the leading gambling companies including BetMGM, FanDuel, and DraftKings as well as Native American tribes Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe, Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians, and Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians.

Other supporters include Mayors of Fresno, Sacramento, Oakland, and Long Beach along with non-profit establishments. They say they are in favor of Proposition 27 because it will funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into permanent solutions to homelessness, mental health, and addiction in the state. They also say that funding will be subject to “strict audits and oversight to ensure it is spent effectively.”

Proponents also say they will work to ensure that the initiative will implement and enforce safeguards against underage and illegal gambing. 

“My tribe has had so much taken away from us—our land, our ceremonies, our culture—and our sovereignty is constantly under attack. Unlike tribes with large casinos, my tribe struggles to provide basic needs for our people. Prop. 27 is the only proposition that helps disadvantaged tribes like mine, and Prop. 27 is the only one that ensures every California tribe benefits,” said Chairman Jose “Moke” Simon of Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California who was quoted in the Secretary of Stete Voter Information Guide.

However, opponents to this proposition argue that if the initiative is passed it will prevent smaller tribes and gaming companies from operating due to the required expenses: gaming companies must pay a $100 million licensing fee to operate in California and be licensed in 10 states or be operating in five states and with at least 12 casinos.  

Those who oppose

This opposing group, which includes both California’s Democratic and Republican Parties, Gov. Gavin Newsom and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, 50 Native American tribes, the California Teachers Association, labor leader Dolores Huerta and homeless advocacy groups say these requirements make it nearly impossible for small tribes and start up companies to utilize and thus benefit from Proposition 27. 

This group says that out-of-state online gambling corporations developed the proposition for their own benefit and that it would give them near total control over online sports betting. They said that 90% of the profits would end up in the pockets of out-of-state corporations, failing to create real investments or jobs in California. They also believe the initiative will actually hurt tribes more than help by detracting from tribal sovereignty and independence. 

“Prop. 27 is a direct attack on tribal gaming rights and self-reliance. In fact, it even prohibits online sports wagering on tribal lands. Prop. 27 jeopardizes vital funding tribes use to provide housing, healthcare, firefighting services, education and other services for our communities,” said Lynn Valbuena Chairperson of Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations.

Tribes in support of the proposition refute this claim, maintaining that the initiative dedicates funding to economically disadvantaged tribes and increases the funding by more than double what these smaller tribes receive each year.

Proposition 26

Proposition 27 is not the only initiative related to sports betting on the ballot this Tuesday.  If passed, Proposition 26 will allow tribal casinos and California’s  four horse race tracks to offer in-person sports betting. At race tracks, only those over the age of 21 will be allowed gamble while age requirements for sports betting at tribal casinos would be decided by the Governor and individual tribe and written into their shared agreement.

If both Propositions 26 and 27 are passed it is likely a court may decide whether both or only one of the propositions will be enacted.

You can read more on Propositions 26 and 27 on the Secretary of State’s website here.

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Aryana Noroozi

Black Voice News photojournalist Aryana Noroozi was born in San Diego, California and graduated with a master’s degree from The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her love for visual storytelling led her to document immigrant and deportee communities and those struggling with addiction. She was a 2020 Pulitzer Center Crisis Reporting Fellow and a GroundTruth Project Migration Fellow. She is currently a CatchLight/Report for America corps member employed by Black Voice News. You can learn more about her at You can email her at