Some mystery proponents have filed two proposed ballot measures for the November 2024 election that would again attempt to legalize on-site and online sports betting in California, restricting it to tribe-owned casinos.
Voters in California roundly rejected a pair of competing ballot measures in 2022 that focused on sports betting — one which would have legalized sports gambling at tribal casinos and horse tracks, and one that would have legalized online and mobile sports betting throughout the state. The one involving tribal casinos fared slightly better than the initiative sponsored by the likes of Draft Kings and Fanduel, but it still went down by a two-to-one margin.
So why would someone want to waste millions to try this again so soon? Hard to say! Bay Area News Group reports this week that documents filed last week with the Attorney General’s Office for the proposed "Tribal Gaming Protection Act" and "Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act" — both of which say essentially the same thing, but the latter has more of a framework attached. Both will now face a 30-day public comment period and a state financial impact review, and then the proponents behind the measures will have 180 days to collect 875,000 signatures.
None of the state's tribal casinos have heard anything about this, and they're not sounding too supportive.
"While the sponsors of these initiatives may believe they know what is best for tribes, we encourage them to engage with Indian Country and ask, rather than dictate," said the Indian Gaming Association in a statement, adding they were "deeply disappointed" not to be consulted on the measure before it was filed.
Victor Rocha of the Pachanga Band of Indians, who is conference chairman of the Indian Gaming Association, went further in a post on X, saying, "These idiots actually sent a letter to California tribal leaders asking them not to talk to the press until they had a chance to talk to leadership. How stoopid is that?"
Rocha added, "this thing is so dead."
Still, no one has figured out who is behind initiatives, though we may figure that out fairly soon.
They why is pretty simple, as analyst Geoff Zochodne tells the news group. "It’s the biggest of the crown jewels for that type of betting. So while it seems crazy to try again to unlock the market after such a resounding defeat [in 2022], the upside is just so significant that maybe people can’t help themselves."