Sportsbooks Asked To Pull ‘Despicable’ Ad In CA Sports Betting Battle

Written By Brad Allen on August 9, 2022 - Last Updated on August 16, 2022
CA sports betting

A group of more than 50 California tribes have condemned a “despicable” new ad from US sportsbooks in the battle for CA sports betting.

Earlier this month, the operator-backed campaign group launched a new ad titled: “Support Small Tribes.” 

The ad said the California online sports betting measure Prop. 27 is the “only measure that will help small, disadvantaged, and non-gaming Tribes.”

The ad reads: “For years, California’s non-gaming tribes have been left in the dust. Wealthy tribes with big casinos make billions while small Tribes struggle in poverty. Prop. 27 is a game changer. 27 taxes and regulates online sports betting to fund permanent solutions to homelessness while helping every tribe in California. So who’s attacking Prop 27? Wealthy casino Tribes who want all the money for themselves. Support small Tribes. Address homelessness. Vote Yes on 27.”

Who funded new CA ad?

The ad disclosed major funding from Penn National, Fanatics Betting and Gaming and BetMGM.

The online measure is also backed by 

More background on CA sports betting ad

Under Prop 27, 85% of online CA sports betting tax revenue would go toward the homelessness issue. The remaining 15% would go to CA tribes not involved in the industry. Tribes would also partner with the online operators for licensing.

To that end, the online measure has support from a handful of tribes including:

  • Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians
  • Santa Rosa Rancheria Tachi Yokut Tribe
  • Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians

Backlash from tribal assocation

However, the new ad prompted an immediate backlash from a coalition of more than 50 CA tribes.

James Siva, the chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association, described the ad as shameful and despicable.

“The out-of-state corporations and their Wall Street investors funding Prop 27 have deceptively tried to convince voters that their measure will help tribes,” Siva said. “The truth is now out. More than 50 tribes – including gaming and non-gaming tribes – overwhelmingly oppose Prop 27 because it jeopardizes vital funding tribes use to support education, health care, cultural preservation, and public safety for our communities.”

Cease and desist

Lynn Valbuena, the chairwoman of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations, said operators should pull the ad and apologize.

“These profit driven Wall-Street corporations have stooped to a new low by minimizing the progress California tribal nations have made through tribal government gaming,” Valbuena said, “The vast majority of tribes are standing together to oppose Prop 27 because it’s deceptive and bad for tribes and California.”

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

At least 25 CA tribes back the competing measure on the ballot in November that would authorize retail betting at tribal casinos and racetracks.

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Brad Allen

Brad has been covering the online gambling industry in Europe and the US for more than four years, most recently as the news editor at EGR Global.

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