CA online sports betting initiative would direct money to help homeless, mental health services

The initiative would bring in around $500 million earmarked for housing and mental health programs, but not everyone is on board.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The stakes are high for propositions that would legalize sports betting in California if approved by voters.

The group Californians for Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support is backing a proposition that would legalize online sports betting.

On Tuesday, the organization announced it's gathered the necessary signatures to place the initiative on the November ballot.

According to the group, the initiative would bring in around $500 million earmarked for housing and mental health programs. Southern California would get just over $208 million.

"Homelessness service providers, like myself and others, are here with you today to tell you providing an ongoing permanent revenue source is critical for California if we are going to solve and create long-term solutions needed to end homelessness," said Quentin Mecke with EveryOne Home, a group based in San Francisco that offers help to the homeless.

Meanwhile, tribal casinos have banded together to oppose the online initiative.

They're spending $100 million on a campaign to defeat the online sports betting proposition.

"Our concern with their measure is that it violates the historical decades-old sovereignty granted to tribes by California voters to be the operators of gaming in the state of California," said Rob Stutzman, the spokesman for the group Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming.

The tribal casinos are pushing for their own initiative that's already qualified to be on the November ballot for in-person sports betting at their casinos.

Millions will be spent on that campaign to push for its passage.

In November, California voters will decided if they want to legalize sports betting, and if they do, will it be run by the tribes at their casinos? Or will it be online?

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