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US – FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Fanatics stand with tribes opposing California betting initiative

By - 11 January 2024

The Sports betting Alliance (SBA) a coalition comprising major North American sports betting operators, including FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Fanatics, has given its support to the California Indian tribes who are opposing a sports betting initiative proposed by Kasey Thompson and Reeve Collins of Eagle 1 Acquisition Co, and Ryan Tyler Walz in the state.

The SBA stated: “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.”

“Without significant and widespread tribal support, this initiative will fail and set back productive conversations for several years. 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. The original premise of building a business based on customers acquired illegally through offshore operations falls significantly short of the regulatory standards to which our membership adheres.”

Put forward by Eagle 1 Acquisition Co, the Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act would regulate a previously unregulated market, put 100 per cent control of online and in-person California sports betting in the hands of tribes, and provide a ‘fair and competitive’ sports betting environment for Californians. California has the potential to be the largest legalized sports betting market in the country with an estimated $60bn in wagers and revenue of $3bn annually

Eagle 1 Acquisition Co’s Kasey Thompson countered: “That is natural for them to come out against as we are the most tribal initiative ever that puts 100 per cent ownership and control in tribal hands. I have not asked any of those companies for a nickel. Not one nickel in a sports betting bill, so you can only imagine how tribal forward it is. There is no mention of anything inappropriate in the bill, nor anything exclusive to Eagle 1, and to suggest otherwise is preposterous. I think they do not see the majority public tribal support, but would get behind a mobile bill like this if they did.”

Eagle1 said it would continue to work with tribal leaders to secure support for the proposition, bring unity to the plan, get it on the ballot for the 2024 California election, and ultimately pass it into law thereby bringing sports betting to California in a way that is regulated, controlled by the tribes and a win for all parties involved.

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