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California Tribe Introduces Innovative Sports Betting Solution

Discover how the Chicken Ranch Tribe of Me-Wuk Indians in California is revolutionizing sports betting with Playbawk, a Class II gaming app offering unique parlay pick’em gameplay. Learn about the app's regulatory advantages, strategic partnerships, and plans for expansion, shaping the future of tribal gaming in California.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Feb 27, 2024

California Tribe Introduces Innovative Sports Betting Solution

n a recent development in the realm of sports betting, the Chicken Ranch Tribe of Me-Wuk Indians in California has introduced an innovative solution to meet the desires of sports enthusiasts while navigating regulatory constraints. Despite the rejection of Proposition 26, which aimed to legalize sports betting in California, the Chicken Ranch Tribe has found a unique avenue to offer a sports betting product.

 

The Key Developments

  1. Innovative Solution: Chicken Ranch Tribe introduces Playbawk, a Class II bingo-based, sports-themed betting app, circumventing the need for state authorization or gaming compacts, thus offering tribes greater regulatory autonomy.
  2. Unique Gameplay: Playbawk offers a parlay pick’em game focused on individual athlete performances, allowing users to strategically select matchups and place wagers on a tic-tac-toe board, offering varying payouts based on accuracy.
  3. Expansion and Collaboration: Chicken Ranch Tribe plans to extend Playbawk to other California tribes through a partnership with Vetnos, aiming to empower tribes in the state to offer similar gaming experiences, facilitating broader market access and tribal collaboration.

 

Named Playbawk, the offering by Chicken Ranch Tribe in collaboration with Vetnos, represents a Class II bingo-based, sports-themed betting app. This distinctive approach allows individuals to engage in sports-related wagering activities within the confines of the tribe's reservation in northern California near Yosemite National Park.

Unlike conventional sports wagering classified as Class III under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the Playbawk app operates within the parameters of Class II gaming. This classification does not necessitate state authorization or the negotiation of a gaming compact, providing tribes with greater autonomy in regulatory matters. Consequently, Chicken Ranch Tribe is not obligated to share revenue with the state, and all earnings from Class II gaming must be utilized for tribal governance.

Playbawk distinguishes itself by offering a parlay pick’em game centered on individual athlete performances rather than the outcomes of sporting events. Participants select which athlete will achieve the highest performance score among nine matchups within the same sport. These selections are then placed strategically on a tic-tac-toe board, with varying payouts corresponding to the accuracy of predictions and their placement on the board.

 

“Celebrating the essence of tribal sovereignty, Playbawk represents our tribe's innovative approach to sports betting, offering not just a game but a testament to our autonomy and adaptability in navigating regulatory landscapes.”

 

With an eye toward expansion, Chicken Ranch Tribe aims to extend the Playbawk platform to other California tribes in collaboration with Vetnos. Through this partnership, they seek to empower other tribes to offer similar gaming experiences, leveraging Vetnos’ technology and expertise in the field. Chairman Lloyd Mathiesen envisions a collaborative effort to proliferate the platform across the state, with plans to onboard multiple tribes in the near future.

The landscape of sports betting in California is undergoing significant shifts, particularly following the rejection of statewide online sports betting initiatives. As regulatory complexities persist, the Class II gaming model presents an expedient option for tribes eager to participate in the burgeoning sports betting market. While online sports betting endeavors may face delays until at least 2026, Playbawk emerges as a viable solution, offering tribes a timely entry point into sports wagering.

 

Conclusions

The introduction of Playbawk by Chicken Ranch Tribe marks a significant milestone in the evolution of sports betting within tribal communities in California. Through innovative approaches and strategic partnerships, tribes can navigate regulatory challenges and capitalize on emerging opportunities in the gaming industry. As the landscape continues to evolve, Playbawk stands as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of tribal gaming enterprises in meeting the diverse needs of their constituents.

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