California Veteran Organizations Announce Opposition to the Eligible Tribal Gaming Initiative

Measure will Cause $5.5 Billion in Lost Economic Activity for California Communities and $500 Million in Lost Tax Revenue

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (March 30, 2022) – Veteran organizations across the state announced their opposition to the qualified tribal gaming initiative – the only sports betting measure being contemplated for the November 2022 ballot that harms local communities. Groups include AMVETS, Department of California, Legislative Committee; Association of the United States Army, Northern California; Association of the United States Army, Southern California; Disabled American Veterans, Department of California; Marine Corps Veterans Association; National Veterans Foundation; Scottish American Military Society; Vietnam Veterans of America, California State Council; and Delta Veterans Group.

“The qualified tribal gaming initiative encourages frivolous lawsuits that threaten thousands of well-paying jobs, veteran-owned businesses and the ability of municipalities to fund vital emergency services including police, ambulance and fire. Many of our members rely on work in emergency services after their military service to provide for their families and give back to their communities. Disabled American Veterans stands on the side of safer neighborhoods and healthier communities.”

-Mike Kerr, Commander, Disabled American Veterans

This is the only gaming initiative that proposes to amend the State Constitution to guarantee tribal casinos
a near monopoly on all gaming n California – adding exclusivity over roulette, craps and sports wagering to their current monopoly on slot machines — while weaponizing the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) so it can be used against tribal casino operators’ legally-operating competition. Specifically, this change in the State Constitution allows tribal casinos to hire private trial lawyers and replace the role of the Attorney General to sue their non-tribal competitors. As a result, the measure puts more than 32,000 jobs, $1.6 billion in wages and $5.5 billion in total economic impact at risk. Veterans rely on this revenue for services such as mental health treatment, veterans treatment courts, veteran memorial building upkeep, and homeless veterans housing.

BACKGROUND ON THE MEASURE:

It threatens to destroy local jobs. The eligible tribal gaming measure changes the Constitution and sets a
dangerous precedent that could result in the loss of tens of thousands of quality jobs in minority communities. Tribal casinos have a history of unsuccessfully challenging the legality of local cardrooms. Now, they’re taking it a step too far by exploiting the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) that was originally meant to protect workers. The measure expands PAGA into new territory by allowing tribal casinos to sue their competitors — forcing cardrooms out of business with unlimited, meritless lawsuits. Local communities will lose more than 32,000 good-paying jobs that generate $1.6 billion in wages annually.

It deprives local governments of revenue for vital services. The eligible tribal gaming measure contains a poison pill for local cardrooms, which are a significant source of tax revenue and economic activity for many local governments. The measure will force cardrooms out of business and result in a loss of $500 million in local tax revenue statewide — meaning fewer funds for public health, homelessness services, senior centers, and after-school programs. California and local communities will lose $5.6 billion in economic output generated by cardrooms.