Tribes Submit Comments To California AG Against Sports Betting Initiative

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Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
California Sports Betting

The two California sports betting ballot initiatives, The Tribal Gaming Protection Act (23-0031) and The Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act (23-0030), have completed their 30-day public comment period. The initiatives have been sent to the Attorney General’s office for preparation.

Three California tribes, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Rincon Tribe of Luiseno Indians, and Wilton Rancheria Indians, have issued statements to the California AG. The tribes have focused on two provisions in the initiative filings that they are opposed to. Let’s examine the recent opposition facing the California online sportsbooks bills.

California Sports Betting Sees More Opposition

This isn’t the first time tribes have publicly opposed the two sports betting initiatives. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) voted to denounce the measures during the public comment phase. Now that the measures are in the hands of the AG, the three tribes have joined the fray in opposing the initiatives.

“On behalf of the Rincon Tribe of Luiseno Indians, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, an the Wilton Rancheria, we write to express our concerns and explain why we oppose “The Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act, submitted by Ryan Tyler Walz on October 27, 3023,” read the letter to the AG.

According to the letter submitted by the tribes, the initiative has been hijacked. The tribe alleges that supporters aim to enable the illegal betting market.

“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,” continues the letter. “As a result, our three tribes oppose this measure and believe the voters should be made aware of its true intent.”

Current Initiative Follows Previous Tribal Measures

The three tribes also mention that the current measure uses the same language as previous efforts filed by the tribes. The tribes filed the Tribal Online & In-Person Sports Wagering Initiative in 2022. This measure failed to garner enough signatures for the 2024 ballot.

Outside of the provisions that are opposed by the three tribes, the current initiatives use much from the previous measure. The language that grants the tribes opposition is the portion placing the offshore market under tribal control.

“Such presumption of suitability to extend to the assets owned by such tribe that are held for use in such tribe’s online sports wagering operations,” reads the provisions.

Proponents of the measure can amend the initiative by Dec. 4. If they do so, the three tribes will be satisfied with the initiatives as they are. However, the measure will still likely be on the opposing side of the CNIGA.