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Most expensive ballot initiative in American history: spending in California reaches $400m

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Staff member
Jan 17, 2008
'Source - GamingAmerica
Debate over Proposition 27 remains heated statewide.
Proposition 27, a current campaign that could launch legalized Sports Betting within the state of California has reached a milestone
as the most expensive ballot initiative in US history. The campaign’s price tag now totals $400m and is still rising.

The debate over legalized Sports Betting involves wealthy Native American tribes taking on online gambling companies and tribes with less financial power.

California residents have been flooded with months of advertising, with ads promising far more than game-wagering payoffs.
Some ads do not mention online betting at all, despite coming from a consortium of gambling companies.

Several ads highlight the potential that gaming revenue will offer the community, including aid for the homeless, the mentally ill,
and offering financial support for tribes that have yet to see monetary windfalls from casino gambling.

California’s commercial gaming market is estimated to be a multibillion-dollar frontier.

Democratic consultant Steven Maviglio spoke about potential profits from future expanded gambling, and how it could
benefit California’s population of 40 million people.

Maviglio commented: “They are spending hundreds of millions because billions are on the line. Both sides stand to really get rich in the long term.”

Maviglio is not involved in the campaign. He said future profits could become “a permanent funding source for a handful of companies – or a handful of tribes.”

However, not everyone agrees. Political strategist Rob Stutzman, who opposes Proposition 27, said profits from the proposal
could potentially end up in the accounts of offshore gambling companies.

He commented: “You know a measure is bad news when both the Democratic and Republican parties oppose it.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom is among the skeptics of Proposition 27. He said it “is not a homeless initiative”,
with pro-Proposition 27 adverts emphasizing this philanthropic element of the bill.