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Silvia Pavlof December 18, 2023 2 min read
California Tribal Coalition Stands Strong Against Sports Betting Proposals
The unanimous decision was made during the association's annual meeting, following a prior vote conducted via Zoom
The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) announced its unwavering opposition to two proposed sports wagering initiatives, marking a united front against what they deem as deceptive measures.
CNIGA Chairman Raises Alarms Over Deceptive Sports Wagering Initiatives
CNIGA Chairman, James Siva, expressed concerns about the initiatives, highlighting their disingenuous nature. Chairman Siva stated during a press conference in Sacramento that the proponent of the measures was attempting to divide and conquer tribes by pushing an initiative that sought to legitimize illicit offshore operators and put their governments at risk.
The 52-member coalition, representing federally recognized tribal governments and associate members, is dedicated to preserving and protecting Indian gaming on federally recognized Indian lands. Their firm stand against the sports wagering initiatives stems from a commitment to safeguarding tribal sovereignty and integrity.
In a letter addressed to Eagle1 Acquisition Corp. executives Kasey Thompson, Reeve Collins, and petition signer Ryan Tyler Walz, CNIGA, along with 28 individual tribes, urged the proponents to withdraw their initiatives immediately. The letter emphasized the strong opposition from more than half of California tribal nations, condemning the proposals as offensive and deceptive.
California Tribal Heavyweights Rally Against Latest Sports Betting Push
The sports betting initiatives, filed on October 27, face significant resistance from tribes, including some of the state’s largest casino operators such as the San Manuel, Pechanga, Graton Rancheria, Agua Caliente, Barona, and Rincon tribes.
These tribal heavyweights, collectively spending over $220 million in 2022 to defeat a previous sports betting proposal, remain steadfast in their opposition to what they perceive as an attempt to hijack tribal goodwill for personal gain.
The CNIGA also voiced concerns about a plan to transfer offshore assets to tribes, characterizing it as a cynical and deceptive attempt to cleanse illegal offshore online gambling corporations with a track record of illicit activities. They pledged to launch an aggressive campaign against the initiatives, akin to their successful efforts in 2022, resulting in an 82% vote against a similar proposal.
Despite the proponents’ amendments to the initiative, removing language deemed problematic by some tribes, the CNIGA remains resolute in its opposition.
The tribal coalition firmly believes that 2024 is not the right time for sports betting in California, viewing it as a 2026 issue at the earliest. They underscored the importance of tribal sovereignty and the support it enjoys among California voters, reinforcing their commitment to defeating the proposed sports betting measures.