CNIGA Backs Mobile Sports Betting Act for 2022’s Ballot

The Age-Verified Tribal Online and In-Person Sports Wagering Regulatory Act is the second sports betting measure that may be presented to voters during the upcoming ballot voting later this year. Members of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) have officially announced they will give their support to the measure meant to regulate age-verified in-person and online sports betting in tribal casinos.

Commercial Proposals VS American Indian Tribes

While busy preserving and protecting the sovereign right of tribal governments in California to provide gaming operations on their lands, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) made a recent announcement that it would back “The Age-Verified Tribal Online and In-Person Sports Wagering Regulatory Act”.

However, the group added that this endorsement should not be regarded as a change of heart regarding CNIGA’s support for the “California Sports Wagering Regulation and Unlawful Gambling Enforcement Act”. This Act is a measure that the same tribal leaders obtained on the upcoming ballot in November after gathering signatures from over 997,000 registered voters. The respective measure would legalize sportsbooks at tribal casinos and racetracks licensed by the state of California.

Once officials counted all signatures, commercial sports wagering operators announced two new competing initiatives that would legalize mobile betting. The first one was a proposal by commercial cardrooms’ supporters, while the second one was announced by seven large online sports betting operators in the US.

As a result, a number of sovereign American Indian tribes in California including Wilton Rancheria, Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria were quick to put their own version of sports betting measure on the table. Californian officials released the summary of this proposal from the tribes on January 11. The supporters of the measure began gathering signatures for it ever since. Last July, the North Bay tribes also expressed their support for the legalization of sports betting at native brick-and-mortar casinos.

An official CNIGA statement from its members clearly states that while the tribes are not “in unison” when it comes to a unique online sports wagering direction, there should be no doubt that Indian Country will remain “united in their fierce opposition” to corporate attempts to make online gambling legal. The Secretary of State chose April 26 as the date at which all petitions should be submitted for review to the corresponding election officials.

The Tribes Are Not Sparing Any Money

CNIGA’s chairman James Siva added that the group’s members feel they would be the best management solution for managing sports betting activities in California. Once commercial operators outside of California were finished entering a ballot initiative, some of the tribes agreed that a second initiative would be necessary to counter what the group thinks would be an “aggressive expansion of commercial gaming” in California’s gaming market.

The San Manuel Band tribe decided to support “Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming” with more than $25 million in donations. This group that would oppose the efforts of the sportsbooks has also received a $10 million donation from the Rincon Band tribe.

The group issued a press release announcing it would oppose the initiative proposed by a number of important operators in the industry, with names like DraftKings, BallyBet, Fanatics, BetMGM, FanDuel, or WynnBET. Together, these operators will be spending $100 million to see their initiative go through
The “Californians for Tribal Sovereignty and Safe Gaming” group plans to match these companies’ donations dollar-for-dollar. The group stated the Rincon Band, San Manuel, and Wilton Rancheria would be backing its campaign with $100 million.

With sports betting online authorized in almost half the country, California is also expecting to harness the benefits of safely regulated gambling to solve its problems with millions in revenue for the tribes.