During a company presentation Wednesday, FanDuel President Christian Genetski claimed the large California tribes who so vehemently fought against Prop 27 weren’t always so opposed to online sports betting in California.
“I don’t want to go into too much detail about all the conversations we had along the way,” Genetski said. ” … Suffice it to say it was not always a fait accompli that the large tribal casinos in California were going to oppose mobile sports betting. As it turned out, ultimately, I think they weren’t ready for it in 2022.
“And they did oppose it, and they did so at the cost of their own retail sports betting measure.”
Following the overwhelming rejection of both Prop 27 and Prop 26, California tribes have publicly sounded the bells of victory. To them, they say, the real fight was stopping Prop 27 from passing. And they accomplished that, claiming they didn’t spend any money on traditional advertising for Yes on 26.
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Three tribes — the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Wilton Rancheria, and Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians — had originally tried to get a tribal-led in-person and online sports betting measure on the 2022 ballot. But when they weren’t getting enough signatures, they turned their focus — and checkbooks — to defeating Prop 27.
Still, despite losing on Nov. 8 to the tune of rejection from more than 80% of California voters, Genetski was optimistic that California will eventually legalize online sports betting.
“There’s one thing on which all the relevant stakeholders agree — the national online operators, the large tribal gaming casinos in California, the small non-gaming tribes, policymakers in California,” he said. “And that is that, as sports betting continues to spread across the country (and) the majority of the United States population has access to mobile sports betting, California is not going to be an outlier. It is going to join those states.”
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When Might California Legalize Sports Betting?
According to Wednesday’s presentation, FanDuel expects to make $3 billion in net revenue this year. It also expects that, by 2030, the US sports betting market will swell to $40 billion annually.
For that to happen, several more states will need to legalize sports betting. Massachusetts, Maryland, and Ohio will all launch online sports betting within the next six months. Genetski implied he expects California to follow suit in the coming years.
“There’s a lot of white space left on the map, a lot of new states that we can open to increase our population coverage,” Genetski said. “And second, we believe there is still a lot of runway for growth in our existing states.”
Changes to the California Constitution can only be made by popular vote. So the soonest opportunity for FanDuel to launch a FanDuel California would be 2025 — if voters pass a sports betting initiative in the 2024 election.