Tribes Formally Oppose California Sports Betting Ballot Efforts

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California sports betting

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) voted Thursday to staunchly oppose the proposed California sports betting ballot initiatives. 

The CNIGA executive committee met with backers of the proposed California sports betting ballot initiatives Wednesday before voting no the following day. 

Tribes were clearly angered by efforts of the proponents, and called for them to stop pushing the initiatives. Any 2024 effort would be in deep trouble without key tribal support

Siva rips California sports betting proponents

CNIGA chairman James Siva delivered a strong statement, blasting the proponents.  

“The entire effort surrounding these initiatives was handled abhorrently by the initiative sponsors,” Siva said.

“It is hard not to be offended when listening to these individuals speak. This is another example of outside influences trying to divide and conquer Indian tribes. We will not let history repeat itself. … Now that the sponsors have heard directly from tribes that their efforts are not supported, we call on them to drop the initiatives as they have pledged to do if tribes were to oppose them. Our opposition could not to move clear and is irrevocable.” 

LSR reached out to proponent Reeve Collins for comment. Collins and fellow proponent Kasey Thompson are both involved with Eagle 1 Acquisition Company

Rocha takes aim at ‘stupid’ efforts

Victor Rocha, conference chairman of the Indian Gaming Association, told LSR that the proponents falsely claimed during the Wednesday meeting that they spoke to executives with the Morongo Band of Mission Indians and the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians

“They came in and lied through their teeth,” Rocha said. “But their lies shouldn’t come as a surprise. One plays poker, and the other one sells NFTs. … They’re a special kind of stupid. They have zero credibility.” 

After 2022 efforts failed significantly and with 2024 appearing improbable, 2026 could be the next opportunity for tribes to legalize sportsbooks in California.