Will regulated sports betting finally bring peace to California’s fractious gaming industry? Does it have the potential to bring together groups like tribal gaming interests, horse tracks and card rooms together in service of the greater good? The answer to these questions is an amazed, “yes.”

Late last week, 18 California Indian tribes, including the leading names in the Golden State’s tribal gaming world, joined together to support an initiative legalizing sports betting in the state. Their show of unity is for a ballot initiative titled, The California Sports Wagering Regulation and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act, which is set to go to Cali voters in November 2020.

The unusual show of unity is more likely a tip of the hat to the reality that voters will approve the bill, rather than any true show of togetherness. After all, some of the big tribes on the letter (like the Pechangas) have fought tooth and nail against regulated online gambling if it’s going to be offered at card rooms and race tracks.

Steve Stallings, chairman of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association was all love when describing the initiative to the Los Angeles Times saying, “A strong, well-regulated gaming industry is of utmost importance to California’s tribal governments and the public. This initiative allows sports wagering in a responsible manner and provides for transparency and strict regulation.”

Under the proposed measure, Californians 21 and over would be allowed to engage in sports betting but would prohibit wagers on California college teams. The measure would also allow tribal gaming interests to add new table games like craps and roulette to their casinos.


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