Market Watch: The record-breaking bet on sports gambling in California faces long odds

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Two dueling ballot initiatives to legalize sports betting in California have wagered more than $400 million on their campaigns, but with a month to go until voters decide, the resulting ad blitz does not appear to have tilted the odds in their favor.

Proposition 26 would legalize sports gambling at tribal casinos and four racetracks, and Proposition 27 would allow for online sports gambling. Big Native American tribes that manage most of California’s casinos, such as the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, Pechanga Band of Indians and others, put Prop. 26 on the ballot. Companies that have been fighting for new markets amid a wave of sports-betting legalization in the nation, such as DraftKings DKNG, -1.39% and Flutter’s FanDuel FLTR, +0.09%, have been pouring money into Prop. 27.

Abram Diaz, policy director for the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California in San Francisco, said his group examined both propositions and is neutral on Prop. 26. But Prop. 27’s use of homelessness “as a key issue to try to advance [its] proposition” worried the group, he said. “We know in our work just how time- and money-intensive creating true permanent solutions can be.”

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