Operators Cut California Betting Ads as Prop 27 Set to Lose

Shut off TV

As polls are showing that sports betting propositions in California will not get voter approval, sportsbook operators are scaling back their ad spend. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Writing on the wall

Sports betting operators, including DraftKings and FanDuel, are scaling back their expenditure on sports betting ads in California. The latest polls show that their ballot measure which aims to legalize online sports betting is likely to be unsuccessful in November.

just 27% would be in favor of Proposition 27

the Wall Street Journal has reported that the Pro-Proposition 27 campaign has recently canceled about $11m worth of broadcast television and cable ads. They were supposed to air up until the November 8 vote. According to recent UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) polls, only 31% of people would vote in favor of Proposition 26 and just 27% would be in favor of Proposition 27.

Big spending on ads

Many of the ads in favor of the two propositions have focused more on the positive outcomes of legalizing sports betting and not really on the benefits to bettors. They highlight, for example, how revenues from sports betting would go toward combating homelessness and gambling addiction.

Tribes have also been spending heavily to attack Proposition 27. Berkeley IGS poll director Mark DiCamillo told the Los Angeles Times that he believes the negative ads are turning people away from the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčlegalizing sports betting.

focus more on directly communicating with voters

A large portion of the ads so far have come from tribal groups. About $116m has been spent on ads promoting Proposition 26 and anti-Proposition 27 messages. The pro-Proposition 27 campaign’s plan is to now focus more on directly communicating with voters, calling on them to vote in favor of being able to gamble on their phones, something which is legal in many other states.

A massive potential market

California is by far the most populous US state, with about 39 million residents. It would clearly represent a huge sports betting market if legalization efforts are successful. Proposition 26 aims to allow sports betting at tribal casinos and four racetracks in the state, while Proposition 27 would legalize online betting.

Backers of Proposition 27 include FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, Bally’s, and Penn Entertainment.

Naturally, the majority of tribes are supporting Proposition 26, while online betting operators are pushing Proposition 27. The latter would likely generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the state if it got voter approval, while the tribal-backed proposition would bring in tens of millions of dollars. To date, over $400m has been raised to campaign for the two sports betting ballot measures in California.


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