Just when it seemed the advertising wars over online sports betting Prop 27 had died down, a No on 27 campaign dropped the most outrageous and humorous commercial of the campaign season.
The ad features caricatures of New Yorkers and Bostonians in front of local landmarks mocking the stupidity of Californians for sending California sports betting revenue to companies based in their cities.
The tag line is “No on 27, it’s a terrible deal for Californians.”
The two most successful online sports betting companies in the country, FanDuel and DraftKings, back Prop 27. FanDuel is based in New York. DraftKings headquarters in Boston.
Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming paid for the ad. The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and Pala Casino Spa Resort fund the No on 27 campaign.
The ad mocking Californians
Many, many ads for and against Prop 27 have aired over the past few months. They often contain hyperbole, accusations and misleading statements of fact. But none have been amusing. If anything, they’re overly serious.
Simply titled “Money,” this ad starts like many of the rest with the statement: “Prop 27 sends 90% of profits from online sports betting to out of state corporations in places like New York and Boston.
“No wonder it’s so popular … out there.”
[Cut to a fan holding a koozie-covered blue can (presumably Bud Light against local open container laws) with a foam finger screaming outside Fenway Park.]
An apparent New York City cab driver outside Radio City Music Hall: “Can you believe those idiots? They’re going to fall for this.”
Gordon Gekko wannabe on Wall Street: “90%!” [Over-the-top laugh.]
A woman outside the Cheers bar in Boston [While standing in the middle of the crosswalk while cars wait, she decides to shout out to her friend who seems to be safely on the sidewalk]: “Hey Mark, Did you know California’s sending us all their money?”
It’s not Mark but the New York cabbie who answers: “Suckers.”
Gordon Gekko wannabe: “Those idiots!” [Starts cackling again but morphs into another Wall Street-type who laughs a little more sanely.]
Back to Boston woman, who sneers while saying: “Imagine that, a whole state made up of suckers!”
Narrator: “Vote no on 27. It’s a terrible deal for California.”
Back to the fan in front of Fenway Park, who celebrates with a dance: “We win, you lose!”
Carrying the theme of suckers to another ad
This premise of out-of-staters thinking of Californians as suckers is a running theme for the No on 27 campaign.
In another ad titled “Suckers,” picturesque photos of California show in the background as the narrator starts: “California. Mountains, oceans, natural wonders, diverse and creative people.”
Then the inspirational music takes a turn and the narrator continues: “But when the out-of-state corporations behind Prop 27 look at California, they see nothing but suckers.”
As he says “suckers,” lollipops pop up over the faces of Californians from previous photos.
The ad shows logos for DraftKings and FanDuel while indicating they wrote Prop 27 to get 90% of the profits. Then it lists states with a higher sports betting tax rate.
It finishes by calling Prop 27 a “sucker’s deal for California.”
A mailer from the campaign accentuates the commercial and tells voters, “Don’t let Prop 27 make you a sucker.”
Fact-checking the ads
Claim: Under Prop 27, 90% of profits go to sportsbook operators.
Verdict: Mostly true. Prop 27 taxes online sports betting at 10%. But that doesn’t mean 90% of profits would go to sportsbook operators. Each operator would need to partner with a California Indian tribe. Since the initiative limits the number of possible operators with its requirements and high licensing fee, sportsbook companies should work out favorable arrangements with tribal partners. But they’ll still be sharing some revenue with tribal partners, keeping it in California.
Claim: Sports betting companies behind Prop 27 are from out of state.
Verdict: True but misleading. All the companies backing Prop 27 are headquartered in other states. But that’s not the big deal the campaigns make it. The Yes on 27 campaign recently deflected these attacks by stating that 87% of companies doing business in California come from out of state.
Claim: New Yorkers and Bostonians care about the profits of DraftKings and FanDuel.
Verdict: Mostly false. Surely there are stakeholders of DraftKings and FanDuel parent company Flutter Entertainment in these states. But if New Yorkers and Bostonians are mocking Californians in November, it’s more likely to be over how they have legal and regulated means to bet on sports while Californians do not.
Claim: Bostonians sneer when they talk and hold up traffic while shouting to imaginary friends.
Verdict: Mostly true.