Proposition 26, Sports Gambling at Tribal Casinos: No

Chuck Martin
3 min readOct 17, 2022


They say you should follow the money, and that is no more true than when it comes to gambling. Like most statewide initiatives in California over the years, Prop 26 is an attempt to buy a law. And it is the primary reason why you should vote No.

What this initiative is not is about whether sports gambling is good or bad. (Me, I don’t do it, but I see no reason why others shouldn’t, in moderation.) A Yes vote should not represent approval of sports gambling and a No vote should not represent opposition to sports gambling.

There is, in fact, no reason why shorts gambling shouldn’t be allowed at tribal casinos. This law, however, is not the way to allow it.

Buried in this law, something you will never see in any of the commercials for or against the law, is a section that allows tribal casinos to eliminate its competition and establish a monopoly on gambling in the state.

This is briefly mentioned at the end of the ballot summary: “Authorizes private lawsuits to enforce other gambling laws.” The section of the initiative reads”

Any person or entity that becomes aware of any person engaging in any conduct made unlawful by Chapter 10 (commencing with section 330, but excluding sections 335 arid 33 7) of Title 9 of Part 1 of the Penal Code may file a civil action for civil penalties and injunctive relief as provided in subdivision (a), if prior to filing such action, the person or entity files with the Attorney General a written request for the Attorney General to commence the action.

Understand that tribal casinos have been at war with non-tribal gambling establishments, mostly cardrooms, in California for years. Yes, there have been shady issues at some of these establishments, but that’s no reason to put the out of business. This initiative allows the tribal casinos to file all sorts of nuisance suits against cardrooms, lawsuits that will cost untold millions of dollars to defend, and likely put them out of business, leaving the tribal casinos standing alone.

The tribal casinos say they would never do such a thing.

I don’t believe that. Do you? Billions of dollars are at stake here. I believe they would do that any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Prop 26 is becoming one of the most expensive initiative campaigns in the history of the state. The vast majority of the money supporting this is from the tribal casinos that would benefit directly from it. Do you think they would spend (at this writing) more than $123 million if they did not expect a profit vastly exceeding that.

And the little section that would allow them to sue themselves into a monopoly is wholly unnecessary because there is more than enough sports gambling money to go around. The tribal casinos just want all of it, not most of it.

They could have written an initiative without a poison pill, but they did not. On the surface, there would be nothing wrong with allowing sports gambling, and as stated in most of this initiative. Bring this back without the anti-competitive poison pill and it is worthy of support. As it is, you should reject it and vote No.



Chuck Martin

Rational. Emotional. Thoughtful. Opinionated. Politics. Sports. Politics in sports. Tech. Writing. Tech writing. Calling out the B.S. everywhere.