January 3, 2024 3 min read

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California Tribes Divided over Sports Betting Proposal

Supporters of the initiative are planning to start collecting signatures to add it to the upcoming ballot in November

Currently, California is among a handful of states that are actively trying to legalize sports betting. With the activity available in 37 US states, as well as DC, more lawmakers are warming up to the idea of the benefits of legal betting. One effort toward legalizing wagering on sports is led by Eagle1 Acquisition Corp. In a recent report released by PlayUSA, Kasey Thompson, a spokesperson for the company, reaffirmed its plans to collect signatures to put sports betting on the ballot in November.

While Thompson and the company support the legalization of betting, the fate of the activity isn’t decided yet. This is because to add the sports betting initiative to the ballot, some 874,641 valid signatures need to be collected. Those signatures need to be gathered and verified over the next four months, through April 23, 2024.

According to Thompson, while Eagle1 plans to start the signature campaign, the company anticipates support to finish it. “I’m going to start this but I’m expecting support from other operators, support from the out-of-state operators. If nobody wants to join in then it will be a shorter signature campaign,” he explained.

As a supporter of betting legalization, Thompson said that Eagle1 will start the signature campaign but does not commit to finishing it without the support from the industry and involved parties, including the state’s tribes. He explained that as soon as the company receives the title and summary, it is ready to print 1.2 million petitions which can be signed by residents of California.

The Sports Betting Initiative Divides the State’s Tribes

The efforts toward sports betting legalization faced a backlash from the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA). Last month, the Association sent a letter to Eagle1 asking the company to withdraw its support for the sports betting initiative. The letter represented the opinion of 28 tribes, along with CNIGA and condemned the sports betting proposal.

Despite the strong position of CNIGA and the tribes against the initiative, Thompson said that there are tribes that support their proposal. In fact, he explained that four tribes showed support for the initiative and predicted that others may follow suit. Thompson outlined: “People are extremely upset that they’ve been lied to and misled by CNIGA.”

Focusing on the financial aspect of the sports betting proposal, he predicted that all 110 tribes in California would benefit from it. Thompson even estimated that in the first five years of offering gambling activities such as craps and roulette along with sports betting, each tribe will benefit from more than $50 million.

Still, for the proposal to even make it to the ballot, as noted, nearly 900,000 signatures are needed. After that, the initiative will seek the support of California voters.

Co-editor

William Velichkov is a research-driven writer. His strengths lie in ensuring factual accuracy, vetting government documentation and reaching out to regulators and other officials. He is particularly fond of financial reporting, the sports betting industry, B2B partnerships and esports betting developments. William is a strong asset to the GamblingNews team as he adds a bedrock to our reporting.

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