California Sports Betting Petitions Going Public This Weekend

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California sports betting

Proponents plan to put 1.2 million petitions on the street this weekend, beginning their signature-gathering effort for the proposed California sports betting initiatives, organizer Kasey Thompson told LSR

Their signature-gathering effort, which faces staunch opposition from gaming tribes in the state, could cost $25 million

The state Attorney General on Tuesday prepared a title and summary for the proposed California sports betting initiatives, putting the effort in motion. 

Support will dictate how effort goes

Thompson told LSR that the proponents will go through with the signature-gathering campaign as long as they can garner support. 

The California sports betting initiatives need 874,641 valid signatures to qualify for the November ballot. The suggested submission deadline for validation is April 23. Thompson is confident that he can get it all done, but time is of the essence. 

“I’m going to give this a real shot,” Thompson told LSR. “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.” 

California sports betting summary

As mentioned in the title and summary by the state AG, the key points of the initiatives include: 

“This bill makes it so that all 110 tribes have something to look forward to. And it is going to create $50 million for every single tribe within the first five years,” Thompson said. 

California tribes largely oppose measures

Thompson has gained support from a small faction of revenue-sharing tribes. He believes it will grow into a much larger consortium. 

However, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), which includes the Morongo Band of Mission Indians, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, has repeatedly voiced its opposition to the initiatives

“These initiatives will result in another rejection of sports wagering and will delay legalization by years,” Jacob Mejia, VP of public and external affairs for the Pechanga Development Corporation, told LSR.  

Opposing tribes could attempt to create voter confusion

While it is unclear how any opposition will proceed, a tribal source said: “It won’t go unanswered. The numbers are already against them, and once the tribes speak up it will create that confusion for the California voters. … If it gets that far.” 

Victor Rocha, conference chair of the Indian Gaming Association, told LSR that it would basically take a miracle.

“It has to be perfect, and I haven’t seen any sign that these guys are geniuses,” Rocha said.