LA Times urges Californians to vote ‘No’ to relaxation of gambling laws


The Los Angeles Times, the largest US newspaper not published on the East coast and recipient of more than 40 Pulitzer Prizes, has urged Californians to reject proposals to relax the state’s gambling regulations by voting ‘No’ to both Propositions in the upcoming November 8th ballot.

Proposition 26, backed by Native American tribes that operate casinos, will allow sports betting in person at four privately owned horse-racing tracks and at tribal casinos that reach agreements with the state. It would also expand the types of games allowed in these tribal casinos to include roulette and craps.

Proposition 27, backed by several betting platforms, will allow sports betting online, on websites run by California tribes or companies that partner with them.

The newspaper argues that the pervasiveness of technology would essentially turn every mobile phone, tablet and computer into a legal casino, where bets could be placed with just a few taps on a keypad. Enabling betting companies and tribes in this way is described as a “foolish scheme”, and voters are urged to reject Propositions 26 and 27 on November 8th.

According to the LA Times, the prevalence of online gambling significantly increases the risk of problems resulting from addiction, siting a study published in the Journal of Gambling Studies that found that “sports bettors are at greater risk of problem gambling.”

Of course the powerful flipside of this argument is that regulating gaming practices will reduce illegal activity and generate valuable tax revenues. Across both Proposition 26 and 27, estimates of several hundreds of millions of dollars annually have been mentioned. But with a state spending budget that already runs into tens of billions of dollars each year, the LA Times argues that Proposition 26 and 27 present more risks than benefits.

Since states across the US first began legalising regulated sports betting and online gaming – with more than 30 now actively enjoying the benefits – California has been viewed as the potential ‘Jewel in the Crown’ for the industry. But this prize will not be delivered on a plate, and the industry must work smartly and relentlessly if it is to defeat such powerful voices as the Los Angeles Times and achieve its ultimate goals.