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Latest California Sports Betting Plan Fizzles Out

Will California ever see regulated sports betting? That’s a very relevant question now that the latest effort to put sports betting on the ballot in a manner that’s palatable to the state’s powerful tribal gaming interests has fizzled out. Self-described “tech bro” Kasey Thompson presented his effort as a new approach, but it met the same end as every other Cali sports betting initiative.

Thompson’s plan for bringing California Indian tribes into the sports betting fold was based on a fuzzy concept involving the tribes taking ownership of offshore betting sites, bringing them into the legal fold. While the plan did garner the support of a few smaller tribes, Thompson never convinced the bigger tribes (the ones that really make the decisions) to get on board.

In a statement reported on by PlayUSA, Thompson pointed the difficult realities of his sports betting dream saying, “This initiative was supposed to be for the tribes but is only causing division. That was never my intent. I see now the needed unity is not coming, and so I’m standing good to my word and not moving forward. I’m pulling it in full.”

Early on, Thompson boasted about the support he already had, and his ability to gather more than one million signatures required to get his proposal on the ballot. As it turns out, he never gathered a single signature and even his offer to give the tribes $25 million to put it on the ballot themselves was rebuffed.

In the end, the over-confident tech bro found that disrupting tribal gaming looks easy on paper, but is very difficult to execute in real life.