California sports betting ballot initiatives submitted to attorney general

The proponents of the initiatives will have to collect 874,641 valid signatures.
The proponents of the initiatives will have to collect 874,641 valid signatures.

The California National Indian Gaming Association has questioned the two initiatives.

US.- Two ballot initiatives that time to give tribes exclusive rights to offer retail and online sports betting in California have been filed with the state’s attorney general. The submissions aim to put the Tribal Gaming Protection Act (23-0031) and The Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act (23-0030) on the 2024 election ballot in the state. 

According to the Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act, “online and in-person sports wagering must be well-regulated by Indian tribes, the federal government, and the State of California, to stamp out the black market of illegal gambling operations and to allow adults, whose age-eligibility has been verified in person, the choice to participate in this activity with strong consumer protections.”

The proponents are Ryan Tyler Walz and Reeve Collins. To get the measures on the November 5, 2024, general election ballot, they will need to collect 874,641 valid signatures over the next four months. If approved, tribes would be required to submit 15 per cent of adjusted sports wagering gross gaming revenue into the Tribal Sports Wagering Revenue Sharing Trust Fund and 10 per cent of to the California Homelessness and Mental Health Fund.

The legal age to bet would be 21 and online sports betting accounts would have to be registered in-person at a tribal casino. Sports betting could not start in California until September 1, 2025, at the earliest.

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association has released a statement that in which it said it is “deeply disappointed” that the authors of the proposals did not consult prior to filing the initiatives.

It said: “Decisions driving the future of tribal governments should be made by tribal governments. While the sponsors of these initiatives may believe they know what is best for tribes, we encourage them to engage with Indian Country and ask, rather than dictate.”

2022 ballot

Last year, voters in California rejected proposals to legalise sports betting in the state. Both tribal-backed Proposition 26 and commercial-supported Proposition 27 failed to pass.

Proposition 26, backed by California’s Native American tribal governments, would have legalised sports betting at tribal casinos, while allowing them also to offer craps and roulette. It was opposed by operators of card rooms, who worried about a provision allowing individuals to bring civil lawsuits against the card clubs over disputes in state gaming law.

Proposition 27 would have legalised online and mobile sports betting. It was put on the ballot by sports betting companies such as DraftKings and FanDuel, major players in the US market since the Supreme Court overturned a federal ban on sports wagering in 2018. The proposition was opposed by Native American tribes and by California Governor Gavin Newsom, who said it was “bad for California.”

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