Weekly News – Weekly Roundup 7/15/2022

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A Nail In The Coffin: CA Democrats Unanimously Oppose Online Sports Betting

California voters will still have the opportunity to vote on two sports betting proposals, but state democrats have already stated that they would oppose the "Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act", aka Prop 27, the one backed by brands like BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel.

The arguments are also coming from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the Native American Caucus of the CA Democratic Party. First Vice Chair of the latter, Dr. Joely Proudfit, says:

There is no question that Proposition 27 is an assault on tribal sovereignty (...) Proposition 27 threatens decades of progress for California’s Indians, erodes Tribal sovereignty, and threatens the future economic sustainability of California’s indigenous people.”

Dr. Joely Proudfit, First Vice Chair of Native American Caucus of the CA Democratic Party

It's a nail in the coffin for online sports betting in the Golden State, for sure. CA democrats have stated that they would oppose the bill to support the ability for tribes in the state to generate revenue from offering sports betting, and the tribes themselves have not proposed online play in their Protect Tribal Gaming measure.

How's it going to work if two measures are on the November 2022 ballot, but they're in direct opposition to each other? What if both measures get enough votes to make it to the legislature? Well, with the California democrats' recent announcement, online sports betting doesn't have a great chance of becoming a reality even if its measure gets enough votes to force the legislature's hand. However, if it's an overwhelming number of votes, or if voters say "Nay" to the tribal measure, BetMGM & company might get the chance to offer legal, online sportsbooks in California after all.

What's most likely to happen is a mixed bag: even if the online sports betting measure backed by big names in the industry does push forward, it will almost certainly go to the courts, as the tribes will contest the vote. They'll likely refer to the precedent set by both California and federal law that gives the tribes sovereignty on their land, including offering casino and sports betting on reservation casinos in the state.

Bengals to Launch Online Sportsbook in Ohio

Ohio dragged their feet a bit on regulating and licensing online sportsbooks, but finally, they have set a start date for betting: January 1st, 2023. That means that you can ring in the new year with a bet on the Cincinnati Bengals, and better yet, the team might just have their very own sportsbook to let you do that.

In an interesting move, in addition to partnering with a known quantity in the US sports betting market, the Bengals are going their own way by launching their own proprietary betting app. They've partnered with UK-grown and US-perfected Betfred Sportsbook, but are also applying for their own app. It would seem that the Bengals may just go ahead and slap their own branding on Betfred's technology to release an app, but there's such an open playing field that there's little reason not to carve out your own slice of the Ohio sports betting pie.

By open playing field, we're referring to the 85 available licenses in the Buckeye State, which stands to be one of the largest markets in the country. It's unlikely that all 85 licenses will even be used, leaving room for pretty much anyone who wants to start a legal sportsbook in the state.

Florida Sports Bettors, Hurry Up And Wait (Until 2023)

Florida sports bettors had a brief window to bet in winter 2021 until the agreement legalizing online betting was deemed unconstitutional by a local circuit court. The argument was more complex than we have time to cover here, but long story short, it was determined that the agreement between Governor Ron DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida was in violation of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988.

We're still stuck in the courtroom in Florida. The schedule was just released for the trial to determine the legality of betting in the Sunshine State, and with arguments lasting well into the fall, Florida-based bettors are going to have to wait until at least 2023 before they could see online sportsbooks return to the state.

Written by Chris Altman, our US sports betting industry expert.