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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Big Players Cut Spending to Legalize California Sports Betting

  • Two sports betting ballot initiatives in California are likely headed to defeat.
  • Prop 27 has drawn over $400 million in campaign funding.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel are pulling back on their Golden State bet.

Proposition 27, which would legalize mobile sports betting in California, is not popular with voters — 53% opposed compared to 27% in favor, according to a poll from last week by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

A Public Policy Institute of California poll from September produced similar results, with 34% supporting the initiative and 54% against it.

  • The initiative has solicited $403.2 million in campaign donations, a California record.
  • The pro-Prop 27 campaign organization, which had raised $169.8 million as of Tuesday, canceled roughly $11 million in television ads after the poll was released. Its top three donors are entities owned by BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel.
  • The opposition campaign raised $233.4 million, with the largest contributions coming from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians, and the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

The measure would require that sportsbooks pay 10% of all bets made to the state after deducting certain expenses. The state Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated that it would add up to $500 million to California’s coffers each year.

Another Proposition

The second sports betting initiative on the California ballot, Proposition 26, would allow in-person sports betting at racetracks and tribal casinos.

The same UC Berkeley poll found that voters are leaning against Prop 26 as well, with 31% in favor and 42% opposed.

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