Sportsbooks Enlist California Tribes To Hit Back In Sports Betting Battle

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California sports betting

US sportsbooks have recruited three California tribes to support their online sports betting ballot measure in the state.

The operator-backed campaign group Californians for Solutions to Homelessness announced three tribal backers on Monday:

Those tribes feature in campaign videos for the operators’ online CA sports betting measure.

Campaign underway for California sports betting

The first of those is a a 30-second titled “False Attacks.” The clip responds to a critical ad on DraftKings and CEO Jason Robins last week, funded by opposing California tribes. 

The tribal ad criticized bookmakers for drafting their CA sports betting measure to benefit themselves rather than the homeless. The operator response features tribal chairman Jose Simon III of the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians California.

Simon urges viewers not to believe the “false attacks on the Solutions Act” and a second ad delivers a similar message.

“Tribal leaders support the Solutions Act because it provides hundreds of millions every year for permanent solutions to homelessness, mental health and addiction in California,” Simon said. “The act supports every California tribe, including financially disadvantaged tribes that don’t own big casinos. By taxing and regulating online sports betting for adults 21 and over, we can protect tribal sovereignty and finally do something about homelssness in California. Vote yes on the Solutions Act.”

Devil in the details?

Under the online measure, 85% of online sports betting tax revenue would go toward the homelessness issue. The remaining 15% would go to CA tribes not involved in the industry.

Per analysis from the California Director of Finance, online sports betting could increase state revenues by “mid-hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”

California sports betting battleground

The latest ad disclosed major funding from FanDuel, BetMGM and DraftKings. The online campaign is also backed by: 

Sportsbook operators and California tribes have pledged to spend at least $100 million each supporting the competing sports betting measures on November’s ballot.

Division among CA tribes

The ad also highlights that there is no uniformity among CA tribes on whether to support the online sports betting initiative or the tribal-backed retail betting initiative.

Of the 109 recognized tribes in California, around 25 publicly support the in-person initiative.