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Palas Floats Idea of New Sports Betting Initiative in 2024

Written by: Michael Savio
Published October 17, 2023
6 min read
Palas Floats Idea of New Sports Betting Initiative

The long battle over sports betting in California took another team last week when it was reported the Pala Band of Mission Indians is considering a new initiative in 2024. That means they must collect over 870,000 signatures from tribal members in less than five months. If they can get the signatures in time, it would lead to another referendum in 2024.

The new initiative was expected to be announced last week, but the tribe still has not done so. One likely reason is pushback from other tribes in the Sunshine State. Pala is known for going rogue from other tribes, many of which do not support the legalization of sports betting. However, the blowback from working with the state to push through sports betting without their fellow tribes would be massive. It would likely also lead to yet another failed referendum.

That means the future of sports betting in California is still very much in doubt. Pala's decision to circumvent the other tribes could further divide them, making an agreement almost impossible to reach. Several tribal leaders shared their beliefs that the state was attempting to divide them amid the battle, making Pala’s move even more upsetting.

California tribes have been fighting sports betting to protect their thriving casino industry. The revenue California tribal casinos see rivals those in Las Vegas, and they fear that will be impacted if people are allowed to bet on sports. Even efforts to legalize on-site sports betting have failed, showing just how large the gap is between these two sides.

Regardless of what Pala decides, they may not have time to do much anyway. The usual cut-off for new initiatives is August 22. While you can file new ones after that date, it becomes much harder to make the cutoff date. 

Previous California Sports Betting Initiatives Have Failed

While legal sports betting has gained traction in states nationwide, it has not progressed in California. There have been several referendums that have failed to come close to being passed. Some of that can be attributed to the tens of millions of dollars being spent on public campaigns for both sides.

The battle over sports betting in the state could also be affected if the US Supreme Court decided to hear a case around sports betting rights and tribes in Florida. While we don’t know if the case will be heard, a ruling would undoubtedly impact the battle in California.

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Michael Savio

467 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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