California Sports Betting Bills Dead As Tribal Pushback Is Successful

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
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It appears that the two sports betting initiatives in California will no longer be pushed. Supporters of the measures have decided to end efforts surrounding the bills due to tribal pushback. From the moment the bills were announced, local tribes had been adamantly opposed. With no way of swaying the tribe’s opinions, supporters have opted to let the measures die.

California Tribes Lead To End Of Sports Betting Bills

The measures were The Tribal Gaming Protection Act (23-0031) and The Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act (23-0030). Both bills worked in conjunction with one another and would have allowed the launch of online sportsbooks in California. Despite the measures being promoted as pro-tribe, there was pushback from tribes every step of the way.

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) voted unanimously to oppose the measures. A primary complaint surrounding the measures was the lack of communication with tribes when forming the bill. The CNIGA has shown through past efforts they will not support any measure that is not discussed with the tribes beforehand.

Seeing that the bills were getting severe pushback from local tribes has led to proponents deciding not to continue efforts. These sports betting bills will not be on the November ballot, and the launch of sports betting in the Golden State is yet again a distant dream.

Will Sports Betting Ever Launch In California?

With the pair of bills now done for, it’s time to look ahead to what’s next for California sports betting. An unlikely scenario would be another initiative is pushed and approved in time for the November election. With the failure of the aforementioned bills, that seems out of the realm of possibility. Lawmakers could aim to try again for another push in 2026.

In order for sports betting to get approved in 2026, however, the tribes will need to be convinced. California tribes attempted to push sports betting back in 2022 but were competing with a rival bill backed by commercial sportsbooks. The tribal measure was retail only, while the opposing bill would have launched online sportsbooks.

Tribal leaders spent hundreds of millions in campaigning against the online sports betting bill. This spending resulted in neither measure gaining enough residential votes in 2022 due to an overall negative public view of sports betting. The tribes have made it clear they would rather have no sports betting launch in California than have sports betting launch in a manner they do not agree with.

Until lawmakers and tribes can get on the same page, fans can expect sports betting to remain out of their grasp.

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