NewsElection 2022


Tejon Tribe of California weighs in on Propositions 26 and 27, tribal gaming rights, and gambling regulations

Ballot propositions 26 and 27 have to do with expanding tribal gaming privileges and letting companies offer online sports betting in California.
Posted at 6:46 PM, Nov 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-04 21:46:49-04

DI GIORGIO, Calif. (KERO) — Propositions 26 and 27 are both aimed at sports betting and have to do with California tribes’ exclusive rights to offer certain types of games.

Prop 26 would give the green light for tribes to offer in-person sports betting at their casinos. It would also empower officials to crack down on non-native businesses that illegally offer games that are supposed to be exclusive to tribes.

The Tejon Indian Tribe of California is the only federally recognized tribe in Kern County, and tribal leaders are currently looking forward to their first commercial venture, the creation of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino that will be built near Mettler.

23ABC spoke with Councilwoman Sandra Hernandez about the tribe’s stances on two California ballot measures when it comes to gambling and tribal rights.

“I think all it does is really put those cardrooms that are operating illegally in check. And it'll bring those parameters into place that you're not allowed to game in this manner,” Hernandez said. “And while it's maybe already existing and happening now, that it would be something that would become a little bit more regulated with this.”

She says Prop 27, which legalizes mobile sports betting and is funded by large companies including casino groups in Las Vegas, doesn’t respect tribal sovereignty, as tribes who make deals with these groups would have to give up certain rights that were passed by voters.

“It gives these out-of-state corporations the same ability to game that the California tribes received through California voters,” Hernandez said. “And I think that that's something that's very important to California and the state, and that recognition of realizing where gaming stands right now with California tribes.”

More than 50 tribes are in support of Proposition 26, including The Tejon Indian Tribe of California. Hernandez says tribal officials believe the measure strengthens the gambling system that’s already in place here in California, and is the best option to help everyone regardless of tribal affiliation.

“It's only through helping our communities that we're able to help ourselves because when we help our communities, we're helping each other,” Hernandez said. “And each other is one of us, you know? We live next to one another. We're neighbors. We work together, and being able to support and help our communities in that way is always going to be integral to how Indian nations should operate.”