Friday, September 30, 2022
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Flutter and Entain Allocated $100m for California Lobbying

British sports betting duo Entain and Flutter Entertainment is putting aside a $100 million war chest to convince Californians to support their sports betting proposal on the November ballot. In the meantime, the rivalry with the tribes kicked in with a bang.

Everyone Gets a Piece of the Pie

The lobbying funds set aside by the co-owner of BetMGM and the owner of FanDuel should support Entain and Flutter Entertainment, as well as several other sportsbook operators, in their plans to see their proposal for sports betting legalization in the Golden State on the ballot at the expense of a rival one.

Titled “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Act,” the proposal backed by the sports betting companies is looking to introduce mobile sports betting and retail sports betting in the state, vowing to generate funds to help solve homelessness in the state.

Mobile sports betting will take place via servers located on tribal lands and the group of betting companies is offering to pay California a 15% tax, of which 85% will be dedicated to affordable housing and 15% to the tribes which do not participate in online sports betting.

Keep Online Sportsbooks Out

But the group is facing strong opposition from the Coalition to Stop the Corporate Online Gambling Proposition, a coalition of tribal operators, public safety and social justice leaders determined to defeat the bill proposed by the leading online operators.

Backed by 61 Native American tribes, the rival bill called “California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative” proposes the legalization of in-person only sports betting at the tribal casinos and the four horse racetracks, eliminating major market players such as FanDuel, BetMGM, DraftKings, and others from a market that could be worth around $3 billion a year.

The tribes offer to pay a 10% tax rate of which 15% will go to fund problem gambling awareness programs, another 15% will be allocated for gambling policy enforcement and the remaining 70% will go towards the state’s General Fund. And their lobbying efforts will be supported through at least a similar size, if not larger, war chest.

Pot Calling the Kettle Black

And the rivalry kicked in almost immediately with mudslinging tactics after a video ad released by the tribes targeted DraftKings CEO Jason Robins for his words during a Goldman Sachs investor conference last month. Answering a question and in an attempt to entice investors, Robins referred to the California ballot and stated sportsbooks “can actually write the whole piece of legislation on the ballot.”

For the tribes, to criticize Robins for claiming sports betting operators would be instrumental in writing the legislative measure is double standards as it were the tribes that wrote their piece of a legislative proposal that is looking to eliminate mobile sports betting and the major market players in the process.

It is worth noting that two of the state’s tribes, the Middleton Rancheria of Pomo Indians and the Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians sided with the proposal which includes mobile sports betting, claiming that the measure “puts the tribes firmly in control of online sports betting in California” and will allow every tribe to benefit from sports betting.

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