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California Sports Betting Initiative Amended, Tribes Unmoved

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Amendments to new proposed California sports betting initiatives were filed to the state attorney general’s office on Monday.

Yet the tribes were not swayed by the changes to the proposed California sports betting initiatives for the 2024 ballot. The key change included increased revenue sharing for limited and non-gaming tribes. 

“The strategy is to drive a wedge between the gaming & non-gaming tribes,” Victor Rocha, conference chair of the Indian Gaming Association Victor Rocha and member of the Pechanga Band of Indians, tweeted. 

“At the end of the day, it’s still a bunch of tech bros promising to lead Native Americans to the promise land. It will fail like before. Unity is our strength.” 

California sports betting changes

Under the amended proposal:

  • Sports betting tribes would need to contribute 25% of adjusted sports wagering gross gaming revenue to the tribal sports wagering revenue sharing trust fund. 

Under the initial proposal:

  • Sports betting tribes would need to contribute 15% of adjusted sports wagering gross gaming revenue to the tribal sports wagering revenue sharing trust fund, and contribute 10% of adjusted sports wagering GGR to the CA homeless and mental health fund. 

“This is now the best California sports betting initiative ever because of the way it benefits all tribes,” proponent Kasey Thompson told PlayUSA. “I think we’ve got a bill that works for every stakeholder, every out-of-state operator, every land-based casino, and a majority of the tribes right now.”

More CA betting amendments

Other amendments include: 

  • Sports betting could be offered no earlier than July 1, 2025 (up from Sept. 1, 2025.)  
  • For the first two years, in-person registration is required to open an online sports betting account (previously was mandatory regardless.) A player can also open an online account by signing up within 10 miles of a tribal casino. On or following July 1, 2027, that extends to anywhere within California. 
  • Allowing for promotional deductions over a five-year, sunset provision window. They start at 15% in Year 1, decreasing by 3% each subsequent year before ultimately reaching zero

California sports betting tribes speak

A tribal coalition submitted comment during the open period last week:

  • San Manuel Band of Mission Indians
  • Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians
  • Wilton Rancheria

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

“This problematic new language advances the agenda of offshore online gaming operators to exploit and monetize their illicit assets.” 

The amended proposal no longer includes that language.

Full speed ahead for CA initiatives

James Siva, chairman of CNIGA and vice chairman for the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, told LSR that his tribe has not responded to, or had any communication with, the proponents.

Thompson previously told LSR: “We acknowledge our process was not orchestrated as well as it should have been. We apologize to the tribes for our missteps. We are working diligently to get this initiative to a place that everyone can get behind.”

Thompson plans to go through a $25 million signature gathering effort. However, the proponents will not put CA sports betting on the ballot “without majority tribal support.”

California will provide a fiscal estimate by Dec. 18, with the state AG releasing a circulating title and summary by Jan. 2

The post California Sports Betting Initiative Amended, Tribes Unmoved appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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