According to a California Casinos survey, 60% of current and potential California sports bettors would rather have private sportsbooks run CA sports betting than gaming tribes. Part of that is likely because mobile sportsbooks would offer online sports betting. However, part of that may also be misunderstandings about how lucrative tribal gambling is for Native Americans.
In August 2022, California Casinos surveyed 600 current and future sports bettors in California about various sports betting issues. The full survey results and methodology can be found here.
Private Sportsbooks Running California Sports Betting
Private sportsbook companies could run mobile sportsbooks in California. Prop 27 would legalize online sports betting with sportsbooks run by companies like DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. It would maximize sports betting handle, leading to higher tax revenues than offering retail sports betting alone.
However, online sports betting would also make gambling platforms available to problem gamblers and gambling addicts. Online sportsbooks offer wager restrictions, time limits, and self-exclusion options. There is no universal exclusion option in any American market. So, problem gamblers have to sign up for each sportsbook individually to set self-exclusion options.
That brings vulnerable bettors past lucrative welcome bonuses, which are difficult for problem gamblers and gambling addicts to resist. The process of accessing a sportsbook can draw vulnerable gamblers back into problematic patterns.
Since problem gambling and addiction impact a minority of bettors, California sports bettors seem drawn to the convenience of online gambling and not put off by its negative impacts. California regulators are responsible for implementing problem gambling prevention and treatment programs. So, California sports bettors can support online sports betting legalization with clear consciousnesses.
If California sports bettors choose private online sports betting at the polls, then California regulators must not let their most vulnerable constituents down.
California Sports Bettors’ Misunderstandings About Tribal Gaming
Many California residents hold misunderstandings about the way their local tribes make money. Previous California Casinos reporting revealed some of these misconceptions. They include myths like:
- All tribal casinos make money from gambling on tribal lands.
- Most tribal revenue comes from tribal casinos.
- Native American tribes are wealthy compared to non-tribal towns and cities.
Due in part to these myths, many Californians resent the monopoly tribal casinos hold over casino gaming. Some Californians are motivated to vote for Prop 27 to break that perceived monopoly. (Tribal casinos are the only entities that can offer slot machines, but California card rooms can offer popular card games.)
The counterforce to this momentum includes voters who believe that supporting Prop 26 is the same thing as supporting tribal sovereignty. Tribal sovereignty is a constant theme in the anti-Prop 27 campaign, which paints private sportsbook companies as threats to tribal self-governance.
This is an exaggeration. Most tribes inside and outside California do not make fortunes from gambling. Government contracts and local entrepreneurship are often better sources of revenue for tribes. Even in tribes with lucrative gambling operations, profits go toward larger development programs rather than individual tribal members. Native Americans don’t receive checks just for being Native American.
Anti-Prop 27 ads may not be enough to keep Californians from voting for online gambling. The convenience and revenue potential of online gambling are compelling reasons to vote for Prop 27. While there’s still time to change voters’ minds, California sports bettors are showing a clear preference for private company-run online sportsbooks.