California Sports Betting Initiatives Amended Following Tribal Backlash

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
California Sports Betting

After facing opposition from California tribes, proponents of the two sports betting initiatives have amended the measures. These amendments serve to increase the revenue-sharing tribes as well as remove previous provisions the tribes objected. Will the amended initiatives finally gain support from tribes in the Golden State?

Amended California Initiatives Examined

The amendments include increasing the adjusted gross gaming revenue going into the Tribal Sports Wagering Revenue Sharing Trust Fund. Revenue sharing is now 25%, up from 15%. Also, the in-person registration requirement for online sportsbooks will only be active for the first two years of the market. Bettors would be able to register within 10 miles of tribal casinos.

The previous language that included the illegal betting market has been removed from the final initiative. This was a major contention for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Rincon Tribe of Luiseno Indians, and Wilton Rancheria Indians. The three tribes issued a letter to the California Attorney General addressing this provision.

“The backers of the Walz Initiative hijacked the Tribal Online & In-Person Sports Wagering Initiative to enable the illegal multibillion-dollar offshore online sports betting industry to monetize and profit from their operations,” wrote the tribes letter to the AG. “As a result, our three tribes oppose this measure and believe the voters should be made aware of its true intent.”

With the amendments, those in support of the measures believe they have pleased the local tribes. Time will tell if the tribes end up backing the amended initiatives and support online sportsbooks in California.

Tribes History Of Opposing The Measures

The three tribes that wrote to the AG weren’t the only group of local tribes to oppose the two initiatives. While the measures were in the public comment phase, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) voted to denounce the bills. The CNIGA is a fifty-two-member organization and voted unanimously against both measures.

The tribes have spoken plainly that they feel left out of the measures as no tribes were involved in drafting the bills. There is also the matter of tribes not fully being on board with online sports betting in California. California tribes have successfully campaigned against sports betting bills in the past. There is no telling if the amendments manage to appease the tribes’ concerns.