Californians Should Prep For A Sports Betting Advertising Barrage Of A Different Kind

Written By Derek Helling on February 16, 2022 - Last Updated on June 30, 2022
Sports Betting Ads Are Coming To California This Fall

There’s been a lot of conversations about the frequency of marketing regarding sportsbooks in states like New York. On the other side of the country, residents should expect a similar barrage in the coming months.

In California, unlike New York, sports betting is still illegal. So instead of ads touting deposit bonuses, a slew of California gambling ads targeting voters will dominate the media landscape.

We know that’s likely to be the case because tribal casino operators announced intentions to invest heavily in promoting their take on the issue. They won’t be alone, though, in spending big on the matter.

What’s behind possible future California gambling ads targeted to voters?

The conversation starts with what is certain at this point. This November, Californians will get to weigh in at the ballot box on at least one gambling-related measure. It would allow tribal casinos in CA to accept in-person bets on sporting events.

That initiative would keep California online sports betting illegal. It would also cut California cardrooms out of the equation altogether. Furthermore, it would solidify tribal casinos’ position as the only entities capable of offering many other forms of gambling under CA law.

It might not be the only gambling question up for consideration this fall, though. Like DraftKings and FanDuel, other gambling companies are funding an effort to get a competing measure on the ballot right now.

Their proposal would open the game up to online sportsbooks in addition to giving tribal casinos in CA the option to run sportsbooks themselves. It still would not cut cardrooms in, though. Thus, cardroom operators are also working on getting their own questions to voters.

That’s the reason for a new committee of three tribal groups that operate casinos in CA. The committee appears to have deep pockets and is determined to use those resources.

$100 million budget to protect interests

According to Brad Allen of Legal Sports Report, the Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming Committee has $100 million bucks behind it. It’s possible that more resources could become available if needed to be, too.

One of the involved tribal groups, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, dropped $650 million to buy the Palms casino in Las Vegas last year. Together with their partners, they will probably not shy away from spending more than the $100 million if they’re convinced it will prove effective.

So why the initial $100 million budget? That’s how much seven US sportsbooks committed to spending to back their petition drive. Should their measure actually qualify for the ballot, they might spend even more on swaying voters.

Their escalation would probably prompt a similar spend from the tribal groups. For voters in CA, that means they could soon come to identify with citizens of states with legal sports betting.

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Prepare for the onslaught

There’s also a chance that the sportsbooks’ petition isn’t successful in creating a competing ballot measure. If that happens, it might not only change the content of the ads those companies will buy in CA, but whether they will do so.

They’d still be interested in seeing the tribes’ ballot question go down in defeat. So it seems regardless, there is an onslaught of mass media campaigning on gambling expansion coming in CA.

It’s just a matter of how many sides that debate will feature and what messages the ads will send. Even in sunny southern California, a winter of gambling ads is coming.

Photo by Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA. Helling focuses on breaking news, including legislation and litigation in the gaming industry. He enjoys reading hundreds of pages of a gambling bill or lawsuit for his audience. Helling completed his journalism degree at the University of Iowa.

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