On Tuesday, backers of Proposition 27, the California initiative that would legalize statewide mobile wagering, released their first ad that completely embraces their cause — attempting solutions to homelessness and mental health issues through sports betting tax revenue.
The ad shines a spotlight on the City of Refuge, a Sacramento homeless facility that houses up to 26 families. In the ad, co-founder Rachelle Ditmore clearly hits on the key issues the proposition promises to address.
Proposition 27, funded by Bally’s, BetMGM, DraftKings, Fanatics, FanDuel, PENN Entertainment/Barstool Sportsbook, and WynnBET and supported by three smaller gaming tribes, is one of two sports betting initiatives that will be on the November ballot. The other, Proposition 26, would allow for in-person wagering at tribal casinos and four horse racetracks, the addition of ball-and-dice games at casinos, and enable “people or entities that believe someone is breaking [gambling] laws to file a civil lawsuit in state trial courts.”
“Here at City of Refuge, we currently house up to 26 families. We reduce homelessness, address mental health, provide spaces for addiction to be broken, and create spaces of healing and restoration,” Ditmore says in the ad. “For the first time ever, Prop 27 will provide permanent funding for organizations just like ours. Saying yes to Prop 27 means more people get the assistance that they need. They get someone to partner in such a way to see transformation come to them. Yes on Prop 27 because there’s no place like home.”
Op-ed backs Proposition 27
The ad came one day after San Diego Regional Task Force on Homelessness Director Tamera Kohler had a pro-Proposition 27 column published in the San Diego Union-Tribune. The op-ed was among the first — if not the first — such piece in support of Proposition 27 to appear in a major California newspaper.
If passed, Proposition 27, a measure that would allow Native American tribes and gambling companies that partner with a California tribe to offer online sports betting, would finally give our communities what they need to address this crisis: a permanent, ongoing source of revenue for homelessness solutions, and immediate access to mental health and substance treatment and affordable housing programs.
Kohler went on to write that Proposition 27 would mean that advocates would not have to fight for dollars every year, but rather could focus on care. She stated that independent studies have shown Proposition 27 could bring in about $500 million annually that “includes baked-in safeguards to ensure that this funding actually ends up where it’s supposed to.”
In addition, Kohler points out that Proposition 27 sends 85% of tax revenue to homelessness and mental health causes and 15% to state tribes, but allows that the initiative isn’t an answer all on its own.
It’s not a silver bullet, but it is the ongoing investment that will provide permanent solutions — unlocking additional dollars for homelessness that aren’t available without it. We need to create a permanent source of revenue for homelessness and affordable housing programs that is specific to state and local needs if we are ever going to implement permanent solutions to the degree necessary to solve this crisis.
Fifty tribes against Prop 27
Opponents of Proposition 27 also had their say this week, releasing an ad that shows more than 50 tribes oppose the measure, with just three supporting it.
The 15-second spot asks voters to “please stand with California Indian tribes” and says that the state’s tribes “overwhelmingly” oppose Proposition 27.
“Prop 27 is a direct attack on Indian self-reliance, and Indian Country overwhelmingly opposes this deceptive measure,” James Siva, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, said via press release. “Prop 27 jeopardizes Indian gaming and vital funding that both gaming and non-gaming tribes use to provide housing, healthcare, firefighting services, education, cultural preservation, and other services for our communities. That’s why more than 50 California Indian tribes – both gaming and non-gaming alike – strongly oppose Prop 27.”