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Proponents Decide to Drop New California Sports Betting Initiative

Written by: Michael Savio
Published January 24, 2024
6 min read
Proponents Drop New California Sports Betting Initiative

California will need to wait at least one more year to legalize sports betting. 

Proponents of a controversial new sports betting initiative announced Monday that they would end the effort. The latest effort was announced just two months ago, and the signature-gathering phase had recently begun, but the group behind the bill abruptly ended the campaign.

The biggest reason for this decision was the strong opposition to the initiative. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), representing many of the state’s federally recognized tribes, came out strongly against the new initiative. They accused the group behind the bill of lying about having tribal support. 

Those accusations also led the Sports Betting Alliance, a group comprised of FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Fanatics, to oppose the bill. They cited the lack of tribal support for their decision, not wanting to damage the long-term relationship with CNIGA.

The failed effort makes 2025 the next goal for proponents to legalize the sports betting industry, but things may not get any easier. The current group attempting to push these initiatives has burned its credibility with CNIGA, which has successfully shut down each effort. Unless a new group is able to take over the effort, we could wait another few years before sports betting becomes a reality in the Golden State.

Tribes Looking to Protect Their Thriving Casino Industry

CNIGA’s goal in opposing sports betting is to protect the state's massive tribal gaming industry. California tribes bring in more casino revenue than Las Vegas each year, thanks to the absence of online gaming. 

While retail sports betting and partnerships with online operators would attract an influx of money, CNIGA is concerned that fewer people will visit the state’s casinos. Online sports betting accounts for over 90% of all bets nationwide.

Some tribes have shown support for legalizing the industry, but negotiations over the bills behind each have led to hard-fought battles. CNIGA and the state’s tribes now feel they are dealing with dishonest operators, making it almost certain they will reject any future proposals the group may put forward.

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Michael Savio

504 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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