Alex Tavlian, The Sun
California’s tribal interests, card room operators and municipalities, and now online betting giants, are entering the fray with three separate initiatives to legalize sports betting in the Golden State.
The tribes, California’s most powerful gaming interest, secured a spot on the November 2022 ballot by qualifying a multi-pronged initiative that would not only legalize sports betting at their casinos and at state-licensed horse race tracks, but would also bring Vegas-style roulette and dice games to their casinos.
Nearly three weeks ago, a joint effort between a collection of California cities and card room operators joined in the action, seeks to legalize sports betting at tribal casinos, state-licensed card rooms, race tracks, and the facilities of MLB, NFL, NBA, WNBA, and MLS franchises in the Golden State.
Tuesday, three of America’s online betting powerhouses – DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM – told Politico they planned to pony up $100 million for an online sports betting initiative with tax revenues funding homeless and mental health programs.
In a statement, BetMGM chief Adam Greenblatt said having California join 21 other U.S. states would have a direct impact on the state’s largest single crisis: homelessness.
“California is one of the most important sports betting markets in the world, and BetMGM is committed to bringing legal, regulated mobile sports betting to the state,” Greenblatt said. “As we’ve seen in states where BetMGM currently operates, regulated sports betting brings in tax revenue that supports important causes – in this case finding solutions for homeless and mental health support.”
All three initiatives have faced a similar task: finding creative ways to work with, or around, each other.
The card room-backed initiative uses specific language to resolve the potential that the tribal and card room proposal are both approved or if one is invalidate.
The online sports betting companies, meanwhile, are looking to serve as a partner with tribes, in a way.
Dana Williamson, a former cabinet secretary for Gov. Jerry Brown leading the online betting initiative, said the third proposal complements the one being presented by tribes by allowing in-person betting at tribal casinos and race tracks occur.
The online sports betting initiative also has 15 percent of online betting revenues heading to the state’s tribal communities as a cherry on top.