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California Tribes Unanimously Reject Two New Sports Betting Initiatives

Written by: Michael Savio
Published November 23, 2023
6 min read
California Tribes Unanimously Reject Two New Sports Betting Initiatives

California’s road to legal online sports betting got a little more challenging last week. The state’s federally recognized tribes unanimously rejected two new ballot initiatives that would have legalized sports betting. While the vote won’t stop the initiatives from moving forward, it signals that they are almost guaranteed to fail.

California’s largest tribes are a part of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA). The group has been active in its opposition to legal sports betting in the state. They have argued that the new industry would have a negative impact on their booming casino business, with more people choosing to stay at home to bet on games. 

When the two new ballot initiatives were submitted to the Attorney General’s office, they were said to have tribal backing. However, CNIGA leaders confirmed they had never been contacted to discuss or review the new proposals, which led to a swift and angry response.

“So, the pokers bros spoke to CNIGA yesterday. They said they had conversations with tribes like mine & Morongo. A bald-faced lie. The conclusion: the tribes are positive they’re grifters. Emergency meeting today. Expect a complete repudiation of the grift,” CNIGA chairman Victor Rocha said of the initiatives. 

While there has not been a response from proponents of the new initiatives, it is unlikely that either will make it to a vote.

Tribes Continue Staunch Opposition to Sports Betting

CNIGA tribes have been opposed to legal sports betting in California since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned in 2018. Their biggest concern is that legal sports betting would detract from their casinos' traffic. California tribal casinos see more revenue than those in Las Vegas, meaning a lot of money is on the line.

While those concerns remain, the rift between sports betting proponents and the tribes has only grown over the years. Millions of dollars have been spent by both sides to win public support, with the tribes coming out on top. 

The rift between these two sides was only made worse with these new initiatives. The tribes have stated that their members' support for these new initiatives was a lie, accusing the other side of lying to sneak through them. While both proposals would have awarded the tribes sole rights to sports betting in the state, the betrayal of trust led to a robust and quick rejection. 

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Michael Savio

358 Articles

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.

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