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California Takes Another Shot at Sports Betting

Californians are taking another stab at bringing regulated sports betting to the Golden State with two competing initiatives they’re hoping make the general ballot in November. Earlier this week the state’s Attorney General approved two proposals that will now move to the signature-gathering stage of the lawmaking process.

If passed, the measures would allow federally recognized Indian tribes to operate sportsbooks and expand the current compact to include table games such as roulette. The proposed bills would also require gaming tribes to share 25 percent of their revenue with non-gaming tribes.

The involvement of non-gaming tribes is a key point that the initiative’s organizer Kasey Thompson took into consideration when crafting his proposal. Thompson explained his strategy to Legal Sports Report saying, “I’m going to give this a real shot. But I would like to get more support. Not only from the tribes, but from the sports leagues, the out of town operators, and the land-based operators. And as long as I’m gaining support, I will continue with the signature-gathering campaign until it is achieved on the ballot.

“I’m not going to put it on the ballot without the support of the tribes. We’ll find out a lot in the next six weeks,” he added.

One thing that’s already clear is that the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), which represents powerful gaming interests like the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, is not at all into the new bills.

Jacob Mejia, VP of public and external affairs for the Pechanga Development Corporation immediately threw cold water on the plan saying, “These initiatives will result in another rejection of sports wagering and will delay legalization by years.”

It’s unclear how much support these proposals have from the general public, but without the support CNIGA, they could be in for a very rough, and very short, future.