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California Indian Tribe Reiterate Sports Betting Opposition

An influential coalition of California Indian tribes is not on board with the latest ballot initiatives aimed at bringing regulated sports betting to America’s most populous state. This week, members of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) signed off on a letter vehemently opposing the measures and recent amendments added to those proposals. Without the support of Tribal Gaming, the initiatives are essentially dead in the water.

The most current efforts at a California sports betting bill are being moved forward by Kasey Thompson, Reeve Collins and Ryan Tyler Walz. They’ve said they would not move forward without the support of Tribal Gaming interests and offered a number of amendments aimed at keeping them on board. These efforts included amendments that would funnel sports betting money towards sports programs aimed at Indian youth and support for mentally ill and homeless Californians.

If Thompson, Collins and Walz thought that the CNIGA would be moved by the amendments, they were very, very wrong.

In the letter, reported on by Legal Sports Report, CNIGA chairman James Siva unloaded on the amendments saying, “The disingenuous nature of these initiatives should be a red flag to every tribal government as well as every voter in California. The proponent of the measures are attempting to divide and conquer tribes by pushing an initiative that attempts to legitimize illicit off-shore operators and putting our governments at risk.”

Siva backed his words with the support of CNIGA members, who voted unanimously to oppose the amendments and the bills as a whole. That move, once again, puts the future of Golden State sports betting in doubt for the foreseeable future. Thompson, Collins and Walz must go back to the drawing board to see if they can solve the trickiest, and most lucrative challenge in American gaming.