High Stakes: Sports Betting in California, an in-depth look at Prop 26 and 27

California voters will decide if and how to legalize sports betting in the Golden State. They are faced with two propositions, which offer two different paths to legalization. 


  • Prop 26 would allow in-person sports betting at Tribal casinos and four horse race tracks around the state
  • The measure is supported by dozens of Native American tribes
  • A 10% tax would be levied on bets at race tracks for the state to spend on things like schools, gambling enforcement and money for the general fund
  • The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates 26 could generate "tens of millions" of dollars each year in tax revenue


  • Prop 27 would allow online and mobile sports betting for licensed tribes and companies like FanDuel and DraftKings.
  • It is funded by those online gambling giants
  • The measure is supported by three tribes
  • The state would receive 10% of betting profits
  • 85% of that would go towards housing and homelessness services
  • The states estimates 27 could generate hundreds of millions in revenue each year

The fight between the two measures has been contentious and expensive. Supporters and opponents of both 26 and 27 have spent more than $440 million, breaking a California record for campaign spending. 

SEE ALSO: What is on the ballot in California in 2022?

Despite the big money spent, recent polls from the Public Policy Institute of California show voters are likely to reject both measures. In the latest Public Policy Institute of California survey, 34% of likely voters say they’ll vote "yes" on 26, 26% say "yes" on 27. Both, well below the majority needed to pass. 

Sonoma State political science professor David McCuan says voters were likely turned off by the dueling measures.  

"All of them huge operators with huge players, with a nuclear arsenal of dollars, they go all in," said McCuan.  "Voters when they're faced with this kind of choice, they opt out, they say ‘no, a pox on all your houses,’ this is called counter initiatives."

Ultimately, voters will have the final say and experts say regardless of what happens in the November election, there will be more efforts to bring legal sports gambling to California. 

We went in-depth on Prop 26 and 27 in our special "High Stakes: Sports Betting in California."