Entertainment

DraftKings CEO calls on California to legalize sports betting

During DraftKings’ fourth-quarter earnings call on Friday, company CEO Jason Robins pitched the idea that sports betting legalized in California would be beneficial to the state’s economy.

He noted that the additional tax revenue brought in by legalized sports betting could potentially help curb homelessness and other issues surrounding mental health in California.

“In California, we continue to work with a number of leading online sports betting operators in support of a campaign to bring regulated, safe, and responsible online sports betting to the state,” said Robins.

“Legal online sports betting is projected to bring hundreds of millions in tax revenue annually to the state to address two of the state’s most pressing issues: homelessness and mental health.” 

States that currently offer legal wagering have seen very significant boosts in their tax revenue since they began taking bets. New York, for example, brought in $1.98 billion in wagers during its first month of legalized gambling in 2021, which in turn produced $70.6 million in tax revenue, according to the Democratic governor of the state, Kathy Hochul.

It is still not clear, though, if the influx in sports betting tax revenue would be applied towards the homelessness crisis in California, or if it would even be enough money to address much of it at all.

California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, recently announced a $12 billion spending package to taken on the state’s homelessness crisis. Right now, there is also a proposed ballot initiative in California that would appropriate 85 percent of all tax revenues from sports betting, which is still not legal in the state, to homelessness causes.

So far, the initiative has received support from multiple California mayors and has garnered a total of over $50 million in donations from sports betting hosts like DraftKings DKNG, Flutter-owned UK:FLTY company FanDuel, and Penn National Gaming PENN.

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: WALL STREET JOURNAL

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