US Sports Betting Update – poll suggests California voters plan to reject online sports wagering
The country’s leading sportsbooks are poised to suffer defeat in their bid to legalize online sports betting in California, according to a new poll. The Public Policy Institute of California surveyed 1,705 adults across the Golden State on how they plan to vote when they head to the ballot boxes in November. It found that 54% intend to vote “no” to Proposition 27, the ballot initiative seeking to legalize online sports wagering. Just 34% said they plan to vote “yes,” while the rest were undecided.
There are two rival measures on the ballot this year. Proposition 26, proposed by a large group of tribes, would restrict sports betting to retail lounges at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, with online sports wagering prohibited. Meanwhile, Proposition 27 would permit online sports betting across California, bringing it in line with neighboring states Arizona, Nevada and Oregon. A bitter war of words has erupted between the two rival camps, and they have invested millions of dollars in campaign ads promoting their plans and discrediting the rival propositions.
The “No on 27” coalition, which represents more than 50 tribes seeking to maintain a dominant position in the Golden State’s gambling industry, said in a statement: “This survey confirms what we’ve been seeing for months in our own polling. Despite raising more than $160 million for a deceptive advertising campaign, California voters are clearly not buying what the out-of-state online gambling corporations behind Prop 27 are selling. Voters strongly oppose Prop 27 and its massive expansion of online sports gambling and they do not believe Prop 27 is a ‘solution’ to anything.”
The Battle Intensifies
The Public Policy Institute of California poll did not quiz respondents on their plans regarding Prop 26. The survey also focused on the upcoming gubernatorial election and Proposition 1, an abortion rights bill. They are more important issues for California voters, and they have naturally overshadowed the debate regarding sports betting. “Fewer than four in ten across all regions and partisan and demographic groups think the outcome of Prop 27 is very important,” the PPIC said.
FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Wynn, Penn National, Bally’s and Fanatics joined forces for the campaign to legalize online sports betting in California. They called it the “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act.” It would hand 85% of tax revenues on online sports betting to mental health treatment and homelessness programs, and the remaining 15% would be awarded to tribes that do not take part in the gambling industry. It would also require online sportsbooks to partner with tribes before launching in the Golden State, meaning they would earn a cut.
However, the “No to 27” coalition has hammered the sportsbooks for calling it the “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act,” insisting that it is a misleading and deceptive name produced by a group of out-of-state corporations. They have dubbed it the “Corporate Online Gambling Proposition,” and they have invested heavily in ads attacking the campaign, urging Californians to vote for Prop 26 instead. The coalition also said that if both Prop 26 and 27 pass, it would take the matter to court, as it is adamant they cannot coexist.
Analysts say that both rival measures normally fail in situations like this. The backers of Prop 27 face an uphill battle, but Prop 26 may also fail as the battle heats up, and the latest editorial from the LA Times urged readers to vote “no” to both.
Start of NFL Season Powers Record Weekend for Online Sportsbook Visits
Elsewhere, online sportsbooks enjoyed a record weekend when the NFL season got underway, according to GeoComply data. The Canadian company provides the technology that allows sports betting apps and sites to ensure players are in legal jurisdictions. It recorded 18.8 million geolocation betting “checks” in states with legal sports betting last Thursday, the day of the NFL Kickoff game, which saw the Bills beat the Rams 31-10.
GeoComply then reported Geolocation volumes of 103.1 million for the opening weekend, up from 60.1 million a year ago. Online sports betting was not permitted in New York at the start of the previous NFL season. It accounted for 15.3% of geolocation pings from Thursday through Sunday, followed by Pennsylvania (14.8%), New Jersey (13.1%), Michigan (9.4%), Illinois (7.8%), Arizona (7%), Virginia (5.9%), Indiana (4.6%), Tennessee (4.5%) and Kansas (3.5%), while all other states accounted for 14.1% combined.
Anna Sainsbury, chief executive at GeoComply, hailed the 71.5% year-on-year increase as “an unbelievable start to the NFL season.” She added: “The growth of legal betting suggests that Americans are ditching offshore sportsbooks for regulated options in their home states.”
DraftKings Ties Up Thursday Night Football Deal with Amazon
FanDuel is now the clear market leader in the sports betting industry, but rival DraftKings is trying to close the gap by signing a multi-year deal to sponsor Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football broadcasts. It makes DraftKings Sportsbook the exclusive odds provider for TNF broadcasts. Fans watching TNF games will see all the latest betting markets, odds, wagering insights and DFS contest information displayed.
“The NFL season is the most active time of year for our customers, so collaborating with one of the world's leading technology brands in order to offer engaging content to viewers of TNF on Prime Video is a tremendous opportunity for DraftKings,” said chief marketing officer Stephanie Sherman. “Prime Video is an innovator in live content and we both have a similar focus on constantly improving our customers’ experiences. We look forward to working with Amazon to bring millions of viewers a premium and enhanced experience during TNF on Prime Video all season long and for years to come.”
Danielle Carney, head of NFL Sales at Amazon Ads, added: “We are thrilled to collaborate with DraftKings to bring fans more insights and excitement as part of the TNF viewing experience. DraftKings content will contribute to lively pregame discussions, fan engagement and, perhaps, some bold predictions from our on-air talent.”