CA Tribal Association Calls For Withdrawal Of Sports Betting Initiatives

Written By Steven Schult on December 15, 2023 - Last Updated on December 18, 2023
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After members of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association unanimously voted to oppose the two CA sports betting initiatives in November, now the CNIGA is calling on the backers of those initiatives to withdraw them.

CNIGA says these initiatives are ‘red flags’

The duo that wrote these initiatives were outspoken in their support for California tribes. However, CNIGA Chairman James Siva said these initiatives were a risk to tribal entities.

“The disingenuous nature of these initiatives should be a red flag to every tribal government as well as every voter in California,” said Siva in a press release. “The proponent of the measures are attempting to divide and conquer tribes by pushing an initiative that attempts to legitimize illicit off-shore operators and putting our governments at risk.”

Ryan Tyler Walz and Reeve Collins filed the initiatives just before Halloween. The first initiative would give the tribes exclusivity of both online and retail betting. The second would bar any non-tribal entity from entering the market.

After those were filed, Siva made public statements against those proposals. He said that the tribe should start any sports betting initiatives.

He doubled down on those thoughts on Friday.

“The opposition coming from Indian Country is loud and it is clear,” said Siva. “Tribes will not be distracted by outside influences making empty promises. Indian Country will stand firm in protecting our sovereign rights and integrity. We call on the proponents to do the honorable thing and withdraw these flawed initiatives.”

Passage seems unlikely without tribe support

The attempt at a 2024 sports betting ballot initiative comes just one election cycle after two other sports betting proposals were overwhelmingly defeated.

In 2022, FanDuel and DraftKings funded Proposition 27, an attempt to allow non-tribal entities to operate California online sportsbooks. On the other hand, the tribes supported Proposition 26, which tried to give tribes control over the market.

However, both sides spent hundreds of millions of dollars on smear campaigns. Ultimately, voters defeated both proposals by wide margins.

Thus, it seems incredibly unlikely that the 2024 attempt will succeed without express support from the tribes.

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Steven Schult

Steve serves as managing editor for PlayCA and a handful of other sites across Catena Media. The New York native is a veteran of the gambling world. He started covering high-stakes tournaments in 2009 for some of poker's most prominent media outlets before adding the broader US gaming market to his beat in 2018.

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