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Tejon Indian Tribe gives their stance on sports betting measures, prop 26 and prop 27

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Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Two sports betting measures could be on the ballot this November, prop 26 and prop 27.

Prop 26, the "California Sports Wagering Regulation and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act" would allow tribal casinos and the state's four horse tracks to offer sports betting.

The Tejon tribe in Kern County owns land in Mettler and is planning on building a hard rock casino there, near I-5. The tribe says they are for this prop and what it could do for the tribe and future casino.

"It's another stream of revenue on top of whatever table games, slot revenue, entertainment that you're offering your facility, now you can offer sports book in person," Octavio Escobedo III, Chairman for the Tejon tribe, said.

Richard Gearhart, Associate Professor of Economics at CSUB says prop 26 would probably provide the most reward for the Tejon tribe and the casino, but also the most risk.

"They would be competing against the established kind of online sports betters who people already utilize, even though technically in California to their services people still bet with them, Associate Professor Gearhart, said.

Prop 27, the "California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Act" would legalize online sports betting outside of Native American lands. This would allow gaming companies to make online sports betting available if they partner with a tribe.

Octavio Escobedo III, Chairman of the Tejon tribe says they're against prop 27, because it is selling out the tribal sovereignty to corporations the California voter already determined in prop 1A would control gambling in the state.

"You can clearly see at the end of these yes on 27 commercials that they're sponsored by BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, Penn National. Nowhere does it say it's paid for by tribes because it's not paid for by tribes, it's paid for by these out of state gambling corporations," Escobedo III, said.

Tribes like the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California, near Santa Rosa are for prop 27.

"Prop 27 will help small rural tribes like mine get a seat at the table will be transformational for my tribal members," Jose Moke Simon III, Tribal Chairman of the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California, said.

Meanwhile tribes like the Barona Band of Mission Indians, near San Diego are against prop 27.

"Out of state gambling corporations are pushing a ballot measure to legalize a massive expansion of online sports gambling in California. It's a direct attack on tribal gaming and Indian self reliance-jeopardizing vital revenues that tribes rely on for education, housing and healthcare," Beth Glasco, Vice-Chairman of the Barona Band of Mission Indians, said.

The Tulare River tribe in Porterville gave this statement:

"We hold the belief that the voters will see the need to continue to support the processes outlined in Indian gaming regulatory act, which confirms the sovereign right that Native American tribes the use of class three gaming. Although we embrace the idea of offering our guests another amenity, but we are very cautious as to not erode our sovereignty."

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Escobedo III says they are currently working through the gaming compact process with the state. He says once they finalize that move to finance the project they will secure financing. He says at that point, in about 6 to 8 months, they can put shovels in the ground.

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