California Tribes Unite Against New Sports Betting Act


The California Nationals Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) has made an assertive stand against the advancement of new sports betting propositions in California. Chairman James Siva, representing CNIGA, has made a direct appeal to the key figures at Eagle1 Acquisitions Corp., LLC, urging them to discard their pursuit of the Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act.

As January 2 loomed, the date earmarked for commencing signature collection for the 2024 ballot initiative, CNIGA, along with an alliance of 28 other tribes, voiced unanimous disapproval. Their opposition, they insisted, highlighted the offensiveness of the proposals, thinly veiled as tribal initiatives. CNIGA’s correspondence underscored an expectation for Eagle1 Acquisitions to stand down immediately.

The reveal of the filing for the Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act on October 27 was met with immediate and intense tribal objection. Tribal casino operators within California expressed their dismay over being left in the dark about the proposal until it went public. This plan, the tribes claimed, disregarded their interests and the stake they have in California’s gaming industry.

These objections were not merely from a select few but from heavyweights with substantial influence including tribes such as the Agua Calienta and San Manuel. Throughout 2022, these tribes had fiercely safeguarded their ground, pouring $220 million into the defeat of Proposition 27, a sports betting proposal which sought to introduce commercial gaming interests into the sector. Their efforts, joined by the populace, culminated in an overwhelming rejection of the proposal, reflecting the voters’ trust in the tribal stewardship of gaming.

Further fortifying their position, CNIGA has pledged to meet any such future proposals with equal vigor, ensuring a staunch defense of legitimate tribal betting operations against what they allege are nefarious schemes orchestrated by offshore online gambling interests.

Considering the resolute defeat of Props 26 and 27 in 2022, the California tribes have reasoned that revisiting sports betting in 2024 would be premature, supported by polling data which suggests voter disinterest in reopening the debate. The tribes project a more suitable examination of sports wagering for 2026, with mobile betting discussions to potentially follow at an even later stage.

Voter support of tribal sovereignty in California has consistently underscored the tribes’ prominent hold on gaming within the state, serving as a firm base in their opposition to the fresh sports betting proposition. CNIGA’s closing remarks condemned the motivation behind these new initiatives, attributing them to a self-serving, deceitful grab for profits that would exploit the long-standing goodwill sustained by the tribes with Californians.

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