In 1848, businessman and journalist Samuel Brannan made history by announcing the first discovery of gold on the American River in California. Since then, the subsequent seven years have been marked by the California Gold Rush – a time when nearly 300,000 people traveled to the state from the United States and beyond to seek their fortunes.
This time, visiting prospectors will not be in search of gold
Now, California could be on the cusp of another incredibly prosperous period, although this time new visitors won’t be looking for gold. Thanks to multiple proposals outlined in the November poll, the state is on the cusp of joining the other 34 jurisdictions in the United States that have legalized sports betting.
Earlier this year, Fantasy Sports and Gaming Association board member Peter Schoenke described California as the “holy grail” of sportsbooks, and it’s easy to see why. It is the most populous state in the United States with a population of about 39.7 million citizens. If it were to legalize sports betting, it would have the largest pool of potential players by far.
In light of this, industry consultants predicted the “most expensive political battle of the year” with commercial sports bets and California tribes vying for control of the market. As this conflict raged, the desire for riches and tribal friction created a striking similarity to the Gold Rush nearly two centuries ago.
make a fortune
“Gone! Gone! Gone! From the American River,” Brannan shouted as he ran through the streets of San Francisco in 1848. Founder California star The newspaper is widely considered to be the first Gold Rush millionaire, but this period would make a lot of people rich. It is estimated that California prospectors extracted more than $2 billion in precious metals during this period, revitalizing the US economy in the process.
It can raise up to $3 billion in annual revenue
Sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM, and PointsBet hope they can now channel Brannan’s soul by making their fortune in California. Initial assessments certainly suggest they can do just that. Chris Grove, an investor in the sports betting industry cited by ESPNI predicted that the mature online betting market in California could generate up to $3 billion in annual revenue.
To put that into perspective, New Jersey sportsbooks generated a record $815.8 million in revenue last year. In fact, the entire United States made $4.29 billion in just 12 record-breaking months.
When anticipating the potential of California, it is also important to note the performance of one of the latest additions to the US mobile betting market. New York has seen unparalleled success since its launch in January, and already has the largest online market in the country. Until the beginning of April, New Yorkers had already placed $5 billion in bets.
Much of New York’s success is attributed to its population of 19.3 million, making it the most populous state with currently legal sports betting. However, California outperforms New York by more than double that number. Based on New York’s current trajectory — $412 million in revenue at the end of April — California has the potential to hit at least $2.5 billion in just its first year.
Boom deal for tribes
Although prospectors like Brannan made their fortune during the Gold Rush, it also had disastrous consequences for another community. Before the arrival of European settlers during this period, about 300,000 Native Americans lived in the state, but settlers brought violence and disease. By 1870, only approximately 30,000 tribes remained.
Since that time, the state’s population has now grown to about 700,000. The tribes of California rightfully have a much stronger voice in the state’s political landscape in the 21st century, and they are using their influence to ensure that they get the maximum profit from the Gold Rush this time with their betting proposal. .
It would completely exclude commercial betting operators from the party
Their main betting scale, which already qualified for the November ballot, would legalize retail sports betting only at tribal casinos, state racecourses, and certain card rooms. If passed, commercial betting operators would be completely excluded from the party, allowing the tribes to claim nearly all of the spoils.
Not only does the retail market promise as much profit as its mobile counterpart, but the tribes are willing to fight for it. Reportedly, San Manuel’s Band of Mission Indians, Rincon’s Band of Luisino Indians, and Wilton Rancheri are willing to pump at least $100 million into a political battle over the issue.
It certainly looks like it’s going to get expensive, as the tribal proposal faces online betting action from the Sports Betting Alliance. Backed by BetMGM, DraftKings and FanDuel, the scale has garnered 1.6 million signatures, more than it qualified for the November poll. Ultimately, Californians will decide which betting frame, if any, suits them best.
Because of this proposal, the tribes also introduced another measure that would give their casinos the right to add online betting options.
All this glitter
When the Gold Rush ended in 1855, some lucky prospectors – like Brannan – left earthly fortunes. However, the majority of the settlers who traveled to California had little money left with which they arrived, and others ended the period even poorer. In the end, many fortune seekers learned a hard lesson: All that glitters is not gold.
Tribes in California and gym operators are at risk of falling down the same path as these unlucky settlers. California is the state with the largest number of professional sports teams, but residents still have to leave its borders to bet on games. Although it is often seen as ahead of the times in a number of matters, the state has fallen behind as a result of internecine fighting.
Tribes and operators are not helping things by conflicting over this issue
This isn’t the first time backers have attempted to legalize vertical gambling in the country either. The conversation has failed on several occasions in the past due to the complex nature of the country’s constitution and outdated agreements that only allow casinos on tribal lands. There is certainly no guarantee that any sports betting proposal will pass in November, and the tribes and operators are not helping matters by fighting over the issue.
Not only could this have an impact on betting in California, but it could also have wide-ranging repercussions that stretch far across state lines. John Holden, a professor at Oklahoma State University, believes that legalization in California could lead to similar policies in the rest of the United States. “A lot of people basically think that the rest of the country would legitimize if California did that.” Tell Politico Last month.
Ultimately, it looks like a new gold rush will arrive sometime in the future, but modern California prospectors must take lessons from the past to ensure they can all share the spoils.