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Sports Betting Alliance Announces Opposition to Latest California Mobile Gambling Initiative

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The Sports Betting Alliance, comprised of a coalition of four powerhouse mobile sportsbooks, FanDuel, DraftKings, Fanatics, and BetMGM, have announced they will oppose the most recent online sports betting proposal in California spearheaded by independent businessman, Kasey Thompson.

Mobile Books Not Interested

California will be the most lucrative mobile sports betting market in the nation once it goes live, but getting there has been wrought with conflicting agendas and mistrust by the tribes that control gaming in the Golden State.

The commercial sportsbooks and tribal leaders have been unable to come to terms, which means sports betting has been stalled. However, a recent push by businessmen Kasey Thompson, Ryan Walz, and Reeve Collins to bring sports betting to the masses has been met with resistance by the California tribal nations despite the triumvirate insisting they are including all of the tribe’s wishes under one comprehensive bill.

But now the online sportsbooks are joining the tribes in decrying this most recent effort and have announced they will not support the effort to gather signatures to get sports betting on November’s California ballot.

Sports Betting Alliance (SBA) spokesperson, Nathan Click, said, “We recently learned that the authors of two sports wagering initiatives in California are trying to find financial support for signature gathering from sports betting operators. In the interest of clarity, and consistent with our previously stated opposition to these measures, we can commit that SBA won’t be funding or otherwise supporting either of these sports wagering initiatives.”

Reasons for Opposition

SBA spokesperson Nathan Click highlighted three primary reasons why the major online sportsbooks stand in opposition to the most recent sports betting proposal:

  • “Without significant and widespread tribal support this initiative fails and sets back productive conversations for several years.”
  • “The original premise of building a business based off customers acquired illegally through offshore operations falls significantly short of the regulatory standards to which our membership adheres.”
  • “Further, this initiative is constructed to prevent the market from reaching anything close to its potential to the detriment of all stakeholders — commercial operators, Californians, gaming, and RSTF tribes — while enabling the unregulated illegal market to continue to thrive.”

Kasey Thompson has responded to the SBA’s opposition with a statement of his own which read, “That is natural for (SBA) to come out against as we are the most tribal initiative ever that puts 100% ownership and control in tribal hands. I have not asked any of those companies for a nickel.

“… There is no mention of anything inappropriate in the bill … I think they do not see majority public tribal support but would get behind a mobile bill like this if they did.”

Finding Common Ground

There is an old saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” And the mere fact that the commercial operators are aligning with the tribes against this proposal may serve to ultimately bring the parties together.

There will be an All-Tribes Meeting on January 30th in Sacramento where the tribes will be discussing, among other things, online gaming. Dan Little, chief intergovernmental affairs officer for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, spoke about Thompson’s current proposal.

“They’ve got a tough roadmap to get on the ballot, so we’ll see. They did utilize some of the language that San Manuel wrote two years ago, but they’ve changed it. And some of the changes have raised some concerns, the elimination of the in-person registration and they’re kind of opening it up to the commercial industry.

“Some of the other changes are not so bad. The increased funding for the RSTF will be helpful. So, we’re just going to continue to monitor it and see where it goes if they’re able to qualify, understanding they’ve got a very short timeframe here.”

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