California Propositions 26 and 27 become the most expensive ballot measures in California since 1999 

Committees supporting and opposing California Propositions 26 and 27, which would enact in-person and mobile sports betting respectively, have raised over $256.4 million becoming the most expensive ballot measures in California history. The committees eclipsed the 2020 app-based drivers initiative, Proposition 22, which raised $224.3 million.

Proposition 26, backed by American Indian tribes, would legalize sports betting at American Indian gaming casinos and licensed racetracks in California. Proposition 27, which is supported by BetMGM LLC, FanDuel Sportsbook, and DraftKings, would legalize online and mobile sports betting. 

The latest campaign finance filings filed on Aug. 1 cover through June 30. The Yes on 26, No on 27 – Coalition for Safe, Responsible Gaming PAC is leading the campaigns supporting Proposition 26 and opposing Proposition 27. The PAC reported over $73 million in contributions.

No on 26 – Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies is leading the campaign against Proposition 26. The campaign, along with the now terminated No on the Gambling Power Grab PAC, raised $42.24 million. The top donors to the opposition were gambling-related companies, including the California Commerce Club, Hawaiian Gardens Casino, Knighted Ventures LLC, Park West Casinos, The Bicycle Hotel & Casino, and PT Gaming LLC.

Yes on 27 – Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support PAC was registered to support Proposition 27. The PAC raised over $100 million with BetMGM LLC, FanDuel Sportsbook, and DraftKings each contributing $16.7 million.

No on 27 – Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming PAC was also registered to oppose Proposition 27. It reported over $41.1 million in contributions. The top contributors were the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Rincon Band of Luiseno Mission Indians of the Rincon Reservation California, and the Pala Casino Resort Spa.

Based on available reports on Cal-Access, which provides information on campaign finance from 1999 to the present, the next most expensive measures behind Proposition 26, Proposition 27, and Proposition 22 were four veto referendums against gaming compacts—Propositions 94, 95, 96, and 97—that raised a combined total of $154.5 million in contributions. 

The following table illustrates the top eight most expensive ballot measures between 1999 and 2020.

Californians will decide on seven ballot propositions this November. Ballotpedia is tracking 11 committees surrounding the measures with a total of $352.1 million in contributions.

Additional reading:

California Proposition 26, Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative (2022)

California Proposition 27, Legalize Sports Betting and Revenue for Homelessness Prevention Fund Initiative (2022)