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43 Tribes Join Together in Opposition of California Online Sports Betting Ballot Measures (Updated)

Robert Linnehan

by Robert Linnehan in Sports Betting News

Updated Oct 29, 2021 · 2:42 PM PDT

california online sports betting
An initiative on sports betting becoming legalized in California by 2023 will be voted on late next year.
  • 43 California Tribes have joined together in opposition to two potential online sports betting ballot measures for 2022 election.
  • Coalition believes ballot measures give too much power to out-of-state online gaming corporations.
  • California tribes already backing in-person sports betting ballot initiative scheduled for November 2022 ballot.

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) and Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN), collectively representing 43 tribes in California, announced the formation of a coalition in opposition of two proposed ballot initiatives to legalize California online sports betting and expand gaming in the state.

In a release, the coalition of California tribes strongly oppose two potential voter measures that could appear on the November 2022 ballot. The first measure, sponsored by state card room, would authorize an expansion of urban casino gaming in the state by allowing cardroom to offer Nevada-style games. Additionally, it would allow card rooms and out-of-state online gaming corporations to offer online sports betting through the state.

Giving California Online Sports Betting Control Away

The second voter initiative, the “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act,” would allow qualified sportsbook operators to partner with California Tribal Nations to operate online sports betting. Backed by DraftKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, Fanatics Betting and Gaming, Bally’s Interactive, WynnBET and Penn National Gaming/Barstool Sportsbook, its supporters are looking for the initiative to be placed on the November 2022 general election ballot. The backing sportsbook operators have dedicated $100 million toward a campaign for the initiative.

According to the CNIGA and TASIN, if approved the act would “give them near total control of the online sports wagering market in California, undermining tribal rights and self-sufficiency.”

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In Direct Competition with Tribal Backed Sports Betting Initiative

The coalition noted the sportsbook backed initiative is in direct competition with a tribal-backed in-person sports betting voter measure already scheduled to appear on the November 2022 ballot. The tribes noted that a non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said the gaming tribes  would have to “choose to give up some of the rights they possess due to their special status under state law” in order to be eligible to offer online sports wagering.

“These deceptive measures were written by and for the sole financial benefit of their corporate sponsors and funders,” said Chairman Anthony Roberts, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, in a release. “These measures would be bad for California and bad for tribes. We are prepared to wage a vigorous and well-funded campaign to educate the voters and ensure the measures are defeated.”

Backers for the “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act” are currently collecting verified signatures to ensure the question appears on the November 2022 election ballot.

Act’s Backers Say Every Tribe Will Benefit

Nathan Click, a spokesperson for the “California Solutions to Homelessness and Mental Health Support Act,” told Sports Betting Dime that the state’s homelessness crisis demands action.

“Our measure will provide hundreds of millions in solutions each year to solve homelessness, as well as real revenue for California Tribal nations, by allowing regulated entities to offer safe, responsible sports betting online. Both California tribes who choose to participate in the online sports betting market and those who do not will benefit from this initiative. It has won bipartisan support from advocates and leaders on the frontlines of fighting homelessness because it provides real solutions to California’s most pressing challenge,” he said.

He noted the act specifically mentioned that no sportsbook operator can access the market without partnering with a California Tribe, and California Tribes who choose not to participate will still receive revenue from the measure.

Additionally, tribes will only be required to pay a tenth of other operators if they choose to launch their own independent online sports betting operation.

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