Voters are turned off by Props. 26 and 27. Racing tracks ought to choose a greater horse subsequent time


You’d by no means realize it from the incessant TV advertisements, however troubled horse racing would significantly profit from a sports activities betting initiative on the November poll.

In reality, Proposition 26 is seen by some as a savior of thoroughbred racing in California.

It might enable sports activities betting on skilled video games — soccer, and so forth.— at tribal casinos and 4 horse racetracks: Santa Anita, Del Mar, Los Alamitos and Golden Gate.

The purpose is to draw extra bettors to the tracks, the place attendance has slumped lately.

“We’ve had hassle introducing the game to younger folks,” says Gary Fenton, board chairman of Thoroughbred House owners of California. “Our demographic is previous.”

Sports activities betting, which is illegitimate in California aside from horse racing, would additionally carry extra gamblers into tribal casinos. And on line casino playing can be upgraded by allowing roulette and craps. They’re now forbidden within the state.

Bettors would have to be not less than 21. Betting on highschool or school video games would nonetheless be unlawful. There’d be a ten% state tax on sports-wagering income on the tracks. The casinos have dedicated to paying the state 15%.

However personal polling reveals Proposition 26 working far behind and prone to lose together with one other, vastly completely different sports activities betting initiative, Proposition 27.

Proposition 27 would legalize on-line sports activities betting. There’d be the identical 10% tax and age restrictions as underneath 26.

A ballot printed final week by the Public Coverage Institute of California confirmed Proposition 27 is supported by solely 34% of probably voters and opposed by 54%. Meaning we will begin writing its obit.

One large purpose each measures are dropping is that Proposition 26’s predominant backers, tribes, concern the approval of on-line sports activities betting greater than they need in-person sports activities wagering of their casinos. Their high precedence is the defeat of Proposition 27.

So, they haven’t been selling their very own measure. No surprise it hasn’t generated broad help. Just about all their effort and cash has gone into pummeling 27.

Tribes imagine it’s a risk to their casinos as a result of simple on-line betting can be allowed at dwelling on a smartphone or laptop computer. No have to drive miles to a on line casino to gamble.

And it’s not simply the net sports activities betting that tribes concern. It’s what they assume would come subsequent: on-line poker, blackjack and slots — common on line casino video games which might be rather more worthwhile than sports activities betting.

Tribes at the moment have a monopoly on on line casino playing in California. Voters gave it to them. They really feel that’s threatened by Proposition 27, sponsored primarily by out-of-state on-line pursuits, together with FanDuel and DraftKings.

Another excuse for Proposition 27’s failure, I think, is its barrage of disingenuous TV advertisements. They suggest that 27 is the answer to homelessness. That’s as a result of 85% of their tax can be earmarked for homelessness packages.

However that quantity — as much as $425 million a yr, primarily based on legislative analyst knowledge — isn’t a lot in contrast with what the state already is spending: $7.6 billion this fiscal yr alone. Cash’s not the issue; it’s the scarcity of smart coverage.

Proposition 27 advertisements additionally present some Native Californians supporting the measure, asserting it might significantly profit tribes. However that is additionally disingenuous.

Though 15% of the tax — probably as much as $75 million — would go to a couple tribes with out casinos, the overwhelming majority of tribes adamantly oppose 27. The bigger casinos at the moment share almost $150 million with tribes working small casinos or none in any respect.

Voters merely aren’t shopping for what the Proposition 27 camp has been attempting to promote.

“Folks imagine homelessness is an enormous drawback, however they’re apparently not making a connection to Prop. 27,” mentioned Mark Baldassare, the PPIC president and pollster.

Solely just lately, on main recreation telecasts, has the 27 facet been telling viewers what the proposition actually does: enable followers to wager on their groups with out leaving the sofa.

“In case you’re a sports activities fan who desires to wager on video games, that’s what it’s essential hear versus numerous different issues,” Baldassare says.

In the meantime, an obscene report $470 million already has been raised by either side on this TV advert warfare.

Voters are fed up with the advert bombardment and confused, I determine.

“If there’s confusion, voters are going to take a hike,” Baldassare says.

On this struggle, the conflicting claims about Proposition 27 have rubbed off on 26 and created confusion about it. Voters are turned off by each measures.

Additionally they should understand that extra playing — notably on-line — would imply extra playing dependancy.

“On-line sports activities betting may make it tougher for folks with playing dependancy to keep away from inserting bets,” the legislative analyst wrote within the state’s official voters’ information. “This might improve the quantity of people that would possibly want authorities help.”

Californians appear content material with the playing that exists. There are 66 tribal casinos, 84 card rooms, 29 gala’s with racetracks and 23,000 shops promoting lottery tickets.

It’s also possible to wager on horse races at dwelling — the one sport California OKs for on-line wagering. An estimated 60% of horse race bets are positioned on-line, Fenton says. Round 30% are made at 23 simulcast services. Simply 10% are wagered at tracks.

Racing’s efforts to carry extra folks to the tracks weren’t helped by image-damaging thoroughbred fatalities in 2019. Greater than 100 horses died at California tracks that yr. Since then, the trade has reformed its horse medicating, and deaths have dropped dramatically.

However on this poll contest, horse racing has been left within the lurch. It’s by no means talked about.

And with Proposition 26 not even selling itself, why ought to voters purchase into it? Proposition 27 has all the time been a awful wager. They’re each losers.

Subsequent time, the tracks ought to choose a greater horse.

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