December 5, 2023 3 min read


Revised California Sports Betting Initiative Promises Increased Tribal Benefits

A key modification involves boosting the revenue share for limited- and non-gaming tribes, a step taken to address the imbalances among various tribal factions

Proponents of the California sports betting initiative have submitted crucial amendments to their proposal to the state attorney general. The revised initiative not only addresses concerns raised by tribes and regulators but also introduces key changes that promise to enhance revenue sharing and inclusivity among California’s diverse tribal communities.

California Sports Betting Initiative’s Key Transformations

One of the pivotal alterations includes an increase in the revenue share for limited- and non-gaming tribes, a move that aims to rectify the disparities among different tribal groups. The amended initiative eliminates provisions that larger tribes found problematic, fostering a more unified stance among stakeholders.

The original proposal faced criticism from three California Indian tribes in 2021, who highlighted concerns related to offshore online gaming operators. In response, the proponents removed the contentious provisions, demonstrating a commitment to addressing the specific needs and worries of the tribal leaders.

Key modifications in the finalized initiative involve a boost in the percentage of operator revenue allocated to Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (RSTF) tribes to 25%. This replaces the previous 10% allocation to homelessness and mental health funding. 

Additionally, the initiative now limits the in-person sign-up requirement for online sports betting accounts to the first two years, allowing mobile sign-ups within a 10-mile radius of tribal casinos.

The initiative also introduces a five-year sunset for promotional credits, starting at 15% in the first year and gradually decreasing to zero. Furthermore, the start date for California online sports betting has been pushed to no earlier than July 1, 2025.

CNIGA Firmly Rejects California Sports Betting Proposals

Last month, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) formally opposed two sports betting proposals, introduced by Kasey Thompson and Reeve Collins in October, aiming to regulate online and in-person sports wagering in the state. Following a vote by 52 CNIGA members, the association expressed irrevocable opposition, criticizing the handling of the initiatives and emphasizing the Tribes’ expertise in deciding what is best for their communities, urging the proponents to drop the proposals as promised in case of tribal opposition.

The next steps for the California sports betting initiative involve the state producing a fiscal estimate by December 18 and the attorney general releasing a circulating title and summary by January 2. Proponents, confident in tribal support, are prepared to fund the initiative entirely, from signature collection through the potentially costly ballot campaign, reinforcing their commitment to a zero-cost initiative for the tribes.

The California sports betting initiative, if successful, would amend the state constitution to permit sports betting on professional, collegiate, and select amateur sports. Tribal compacts with the state would include sports betting, and the initiative will legalize craps and roulette at tribal casinos.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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