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Animal Advocates Decry California Legal Betting On Horses

A new California legal betting measure stands to bring millions to the horse racing industry. The subject has created tension with animal rights activists.

An upcoming ballot measure in favor of California legal sports betting could be exactly what business owners need to reinvigorate the dying horse racing industry. Now, animal rights groups are asking the public whether the tradition is truly one worth preserving.

Declining Interest In Horse Racing

For centuries, horse race betting has been regarded as a staple of American society. Until recently, it was not uncommon for families to travel from across the country to gamble on their favorite Thoroughbreds.

However, the last twenty years have demonstrated a shift in social ideology wherein former fans of the sport have abandoned the practice completely.

Between recent amendments that have put tight restrictions on racetracks as well as an outcry from national animal rights groups, bettors have been given plenty of incentive to place their wagers elsewhere.

The idea was that these racetracks would eventually die off on their own, slowly going out of business. But with the overturn of PASPA in 2018, a new light appeared at the end of the tunnel for the struggling industry.

Legal Betting To Save The Sport

Fast forward to 2022, the country is home to more than 30 legal sports betting states. As Californians begin to weigh the advantages domestic sportsbooks have to offer, one liability remains—the revival of the racetrack.

Proposition 26, also known as the California Legalize Sports Betting On American Indian Lands Initiative, aims to authorize the operation of in-person sportsbooks at tribal-affiliated casinos and horse racing facilities.

The prospect has received a wide variety of opposition from different groups and organizations. However, Taxpayers Against Special Interest Monopolies has been one of the loudest voices against the measure.

This week, the group published a press release denouncing the proposition and the benefits it provides for the horse racing industry. 

With a collection of statements from some of the state’s most regarded animal activists, the message is clear—a green light for Prop 26 is a green light for horse racing and the harm that follows.

Animal Advocates Against Betting

Jill Tucker, the CEO of the California Animal Welfare Association, put it plainly:

“Prop 26 provides a financial ‘shot in the arm’ to private horse racing tracks with no requirement or accountability towards increasing animal safety. This is not good policy as the industry needs to independently improve animal safety to attract back its customer base rather than ignoring these serious challenges and focusing on millions of dollars coming their way due to Prop 26.”

Improvements to animal safety do need to be prioritized ahead of preserving a historically violent industry. However, Prop 26 is not the only legal betting measure on the ballot that would help race tracks. 

Prop 27, the measure backed by national conglomerates such as DraftKings, also provides operator access to horse racing venues.

Ultimately, none of the proposed changes to state gambling laws would provide effective means of animal racing regulations. The subject just isn’t within the scope of the task. 

Enacting Necessary Change

Nonetheless, voters must pay attention to the ripple effects. And that goes for any set of prospective legislation. 

It seems like a far stretch to rely on major gambling corporations to protect the interests of animals against their own. But that doesn’t mean that progress is out of reach.

For current updates on the legal betting debacle in California, be sure to come back and visit us.

Source: SPCA LA

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