California Sports Betting Campaigns Extend Record-Breaking Haul

Written By Matthew Waters on September 14, 2022
California sports betting

The most-funded state ballot initiative in US history continues to break records as the fight for sports betting in California continues.

Proponents and opponents continue to fund the campaigns on two proposals that would legalize California sportsbooks. Prop 26 is tribal-only and would allow only retail sports betting for at least five years. Prop 27, meanwhile, is backed by major US sports betting operators and would legalize online betting.

There are just under two months left until the issue goes up for a vote on Nov. 8.

Operators still funding online CA sports betting

DraftKings and FanDuel added another $19.2 million since LSR last tracked campaign finances in mid-August.

FanDuel slightly edged out DraftKings in new contributions, according to the Secretary of State’s database. DraftKings gave $9.2 million over seven payments while FanDuel topped $10 million in four payments.

That puts total contributions from sportsbooks at $169.2 million:

  • FanDuel: $35 million
  • DraftKings: $34.2 million
  • BetMGM: $25 million
  • Fanatics: $25 million
  • PENN Entertainment: $25 million
  • Bally Bet: $12.5 million
  • WynnBET: $12.5 million

Tribal betting campaign pads coffers too

More than $17.8 million has been contributed to the YES on 26, NO on 27 campaign since Aug. 16.

That funding came mostly from three tribes. The Pechanga Indians led with $10.2 million and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation chipped in $5.1 million. The Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians contributed for the first time with $2.5 million.

The Barona Band of Mission Indians and the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians combined for $4,619 contributed.

That brings Prop 26 financial support to $109.5 million as of publication.

Opposition funds also flowing in

Both the online and the tribal retail campaigns have opponents funding the fights against them.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians contributed more than $25 million over six payments since Aug. 12 to No on 27. The only other online betting opposition funding of $1,055 came from the California Democratic Party. The Democrats are neutral on Prop 26, but the Republican party is against both proposals.

There was $785,000 contributed to No on 26, the anti-tribal betting campaign funded by California cardrooms, since mid-August. Blackstone Gaming contributed $485,000 while Sahara Dunes Casino contributed $300,000.

Neither “no” campaign has matched the funding of the campaign backing the proposition. No on 26 has $41.9 million in funding, while No on 27 has $91.2 million in funding.

LA Times says no to California sports betting

The LA Times Editorial Board is against both propositions that would legalize sports betting in the state, it wrote Monday.

“These two competing measures would allow sports betting in California, though in different ways, and both would usher in a troubling expansion of gambling,” according to the board.

Prop 27 “would essentially turn every cellphone, tablet and computer into a legal casino where bets could be placed with a few taps,” the editorial board said.

Prop 26 is better for no internet betting but it also adds ball-and-dice games to tribal casinos, as well as the ability for tribes to sue cardrooms over non-banked card games.

“… the measure amounts to a toxic brew of industry interests designed not only to enrich the funders but also to push away their competitors,” the board penned.

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Matthew Waters

Matthew Waters is a reporter covering legal sports betting and the gambling industry. Previous stops include Fantini Research and various freelance jobs covering professional and amateur sports in Delaware and the Philadelphia area.

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