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The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) rejected two new sports betting initiatives for 2024 last week. The group accused Reeve Collins and Kasey Thompson, who proposed the new initiatives, of being dishonest throughout the process. They believe the duo deliberately lied about having tribal support and tried to catch the tribes off guard by proposing the initiatives at the last minute.
Collins and Thompson responded by asking the tribes for amendments to help gain their support, but it seems the damage has been done.
“But in my mind, I was like, why would we even entertain sending them amendments and give them some of our credibility?” CNIGA Chairman James Siva said during an episode of “The New Normal” podcast. “Why would we risk our credibility by even associating with these individuals?”
California residents could share feedback on the initiatives until yesterday, and any amendments must approved and added within the next five days. Given how much the relationship between CNIGA and sports betting proponents has soured, it seems unlikely either initiative will advance to a vote.
While the two current initiatives favor the state’s tribes, concerns linger for CNIGA around the state’s “gray market.” The gray market refers to offshore sportsbooks being able to offer unregulated sports betting to residents of the Golden State. CNIGA has said that Collins and Thompson promised the gray market would be shuttered but have not shared how that will happen.
The lack of communication over the gray market has tribes fearing that those operators could be bought out and welcomed into the regulated market. A similar situation unfolded in Ontario, which gave gray market operators a chance at amnesty, allowing them to meet regulations and continue operating in the states.
“They keep talking about we’re going to be able to eliminate all this gray market in sports betting, all the illegal operations in California, but they never actually say how they’re going to do it,” Siva said. “Because the only way they’re going to be able to do it is with these backroom deals to buy up all these illegal operators.”
While a plan to address the gray market could help move the process along, the language from CNIGNA signals that they may no longer be willing to work with Reeves and Thompson.
Michael is an avid sports fan and a veteran bettor from Milwaukee. He learned the trade from his grandfather in Las Vegas as a kid and has turned that into a successful career. He cheers for all Wisconsin pro teams along with his Alma Mater Arizona State. He specializes in baseball betting, but has experience in football, basketball, and hockey as well. When he isn’t pouring over stats, he’s spending time with his two young children.More info on Michael Savio
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