California Betting Battle Intensifies as Tribes Brand Rivals’ Ad “Shameful, Despicable”

  • The Ad claims rich tribes with big casinos make billions, smaller ones “struggle in poverty”
  • Two leading tribal figures were featured on the ad, backdropped against tribal casinos
  • A Tribe chairman said gaming tribes share millions with limited and non-gaming tribes
  • Proposition 27 will go against Proposition 26 in the California ballot in less than three months
Businessman with boxing gloves
The kid gloves are off in regards to California sports betting after a coalition of California tribes condemned an ad by their commercial rivals. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Attacks get personal

The heavyweight battle for the crown of California online betting is entering the penultimate rounds with tribes and commercial sportsbooks going toe-to-toe in an increasingly personal media slugfest.

directly attacks California Tribal leaders.”

On Tuesday, tribes retaliated to a TV ad flighted by the commercial coalition named Yes on 27. In a press release, the tribal group described the ad as “shameful, despicable,” adding that it “directly attacks California Tribal leaders.”

The sportsbook coalition, backed by BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel, flighted the contentious ad at the beginning of the week. During the commercial, a narrator makes claims about tribal casinos, including: “Wealthy tribes with big casinos make billions while small tribes struggle in poverty.”

The ad directly referenced two leading tribal figures. It featured stills of chairman of Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Kenneth Kahn against a Chumash Casino Resort background. Similarly, the ad showed vice chairwoman at Barona Band of Mission Indians Beth Glasco superimposed on an image of Barona Resort and Casino.

Unified response

The Yes on 27 ad has sparked a unified counter-attack from California tribes. In a Tuesday press release from a coalition of tribes called No on 27, chairwoman of the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN) Lynn Valbuena, said: “The out-of-state corporations behind this ad should

immediately pull it off the air and apologize to the tribal leaders.”

Valbuena added that the “profit-driven” corporates had “stooped to a new low by minimizing the progress California tribal nations have made through tribal government gaming.”

Chairman of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe Glenn Lodge, said: “It’s shameful to attack tribes that have a proven track record of sharing hundreds of millions with limited and non-gaming tribes like mine.”

This isn’t the first time the two opposing groups have locked heads over ads. On July 23, the No camp released an attack ad that deemed the corporate coalition liars for airing ads featuring Native Americans claiming that Proposition 27 benefits tribes.

All to play for

If it wins the November 8 ballot, which it qualified for in May by receiving more than 1.6 million signatures, the commercial sportsbook-backed Proposition 27 will permit California-wide online betting with platforms linked to tribal casinos.

Proposition 26 would allow retail sports betting at tribal casinos

Proposition 26 is the other sports betting initiative going to the ballot in November. Backed by most tribal operators, Proposition 26 would allow retail sports betting at tribal casinos and state-licensed horse-racing tracks.

The ballot is just three months away, and its all to play for in the US’s most populated jurisdiction. With so much to lose and gain for all antagonists, VegasSlotsOnline News previously dubbed the titanic political struggle for control of the lucrative California online betting market the “new Gold Rush.”