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CNIGA’s Cautionary Tale: California Sports Betting Initiative Fails to Gain Traction



A Cautionary Tale: CNIGA Reacts to the Failure of California’s Sports Betting Initiative

In a surprising turn of events, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) has issued a stark warning following the collapse of the latest attempt to legalize sports betting in California. The failure of two ballot initiatives, which aimed to grant tribes exclusive rights to offer sports betting in the state, has raised important questions about the future of sports wagering in California.

Tribal Opposition Halts Progress

Despite considerable efforts by Eagle1 Acquisitions Corp, the group supporting the sports betting proposition, tribal opposition ultimately led to the withdrawal of the initiatives. These proposals, known as the Sports Wagering Regulation and Tribal Gaming Protection Act, sought to amend the California constitution, granting tribes exclusive rights to operate both retail and online sports betting.

The Rejected Amendments

The CNIGA rejected the amendments made to the initiative in December, which were intended to gain tribal support. These changes included advancing the launch date for sports wagering to July 1, 2025 (originally set for September 2025), increasing contributions from tribes to a tribal wagering revenue trust fund from 15% to 25% of adjusted sports betting gross gaming revenue (GGR), and removing the requirement for in-person online gambling registration for those outside a 10-mile radius from a casino after two years.

CNIGA’s Firm Stance

The CNIGA emphasized its opposition to these initiatives, stating, “Let this failure also be a warning to others that seek to dubiously enter the California gaming market. Using tribes for your own gain will get you nowhere.” This firm stance reflects the CNIGA’s commitment to preserving the interests of tribal communities and maintaining the integrity of tribal gaming operations.


Brendan Bussman’s Insights

Brendan Bussman, Managing Partner at B Global Advisors, highlighted the need for compromise and collaboration to establish a legal sports betting market in California. He pointed out that only 30% of the population expressed support for sports betting, suggesting that a balanced approach that takes into account tribal concerns and public sentiment is essential.

The Public Perspective

Interestingly, despite the potential for a thriving sports betting market, there hasn’t been a significant push from the public to legalize sports betting in California. A February 2022 poll indicated some support for it, but Democrats in California recommended voting against sports betting proposals. Ultimately, both tribal and operator-backed initiatives failed to gain voter approval in November 2022.

The Road Ahead

The failure of these initiatives serves as a cautionary tale for future attempts to legalize sports betting in California. The delicate balance between tribal interests, public sentiment, and legislative efforts remains a formidable challenge. As the CNIGA’s statement suggests, using tribes as mere vehicles for personal gain in the gaming industry is unlikely to succeed. The future of sports betting in California hinges on collaboration, compromise, and a thorough understanding of the state’s unique dynamics.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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