CA Native Tribes Shift Strategy to Fight “Corporate Online Sports Betting Initiative”

Written by: Mike Lukas
Updated October 14, 2022
3 min read
Downtown Los Angeles At Sunset
  • Three CA Tribes Just Shifted Focus To “Killing” a Commercial Sports Betting Initiative
  • The FanDuel / DraftKings Online Sports Betting Measure Could be Losing Support
  • Native Tribes Fear Losing Control of Gaming in California

Three CA Tribes Just Shifted Focus To “Killing” a Commercial Sports Betting Initiative

There are about forty million California residents right now and plenty of them are gamblers, but so far none of them can place legal sports bet there, something that the state’s native tribes, casinos, card rooms, and outside sportsbooks are hoping to change this November.

There are several ballot measures in the works that could make the final cut in November when voters will decide if they want legal sports betting market in the Golden State, and now several tribes have signaled a shift in strategy geared more toward “killing” one of those initiatives.

Tribe spokesman Rob Stutzman sent a recent email to Sports Handle that made clear why this tribal strategy shift towards discouraging California voters from backing the opposing commercial measure makes more sense, writing:

With the ongoing collapse of support for the FanDuel / DraftKings online sports betting measure and the effectiveness of our recent ads, our strategists have recommended that there is a better path for victory in 2024.

Those outside operators are facing an uphill battle these next few months, and not just against those tribes because now it seems as if more and more state voters are opposing their upcoming measure.

The FanDuel/DraftKings Online Sports Betting Measure Could be Losing Support

Last month, a tribal poll done by FM3 Research, a California-based polling company, showed that over half (53%) of those local voters questioned opposed the so-called corporate online sports betting ballot initiative backed by FanDuel and DraftKings and other outside operators.

According to that message, that’s a five percent increase from what was recorded late last year indicating a downward trend in support for that particular sports betting measure, good news for those tribes who have spent money on ads trying to get that anti-message out there.

Those tribes have said in the past that giving control of the California sports betting market to outside operators is out of the question sparking them to earmark at least $100 million to make that happen.

Native Tribes Fear Losing Control of Gaming in California

The writing is on the wall, so to speak, and legal sports betting is coming to California at some point so the native tribes there who control the casino gaming market fear giving up some of that power to outside operators and sportsbooks.

IGA conference chairman Victor Rocha summed it up simply last month, saying:

We have exclusivity. We are not going to give that up.

In the meantime, the tribes will continue to collect signatures for their mobile wagering proposal with the 2024 ballot as their goal, a sign that they are in no hurry to get this deal done, while outside operators will most likely push to get California sports betting market launched sooner.

Keep checking back for all the latest news and updates on this ongoing story.

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Mike Lukas

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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager.
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