Betting odds are displayed on a blackboard in the sports book at a hotel casino in Las Vegas. Two California gambling ballot measures were challenged by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association on Thursday. (Photo: John Locher/AP File)
Last year two ballot proposals related to the expansion of sports betting failed, two new proposed measures were proposed at the end of last month. On Thursday, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association voted unanimously 18-0 to oppose the two measures at a meeting.
The new measures come a year after California voters voted against commercial gaming and the legalization of gaming in the state. There was about $600 million spent between the two loans that failed, without the vote that got 33% of their votes in the 2022 election.
The new measures came with a new twist, one would ban sports betting by anyone except the California Indian sports community, and put tribes in control of all sports in the state. Another option would be for the governor to discuss “sportsmanship” with the tribes on online and individual betting.
Before they were announced in public, all proposals of 2022, Proposals 26 and 27, who promoted them spoke to ethnic groups to unite and build relationships. The two new methods did not do that. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association said that while they are not opposed to the idea, they feel the new measures were rushed and that voters are not ready to vote on the issue once they have a clear answer in the 2022 election.
The association is a non-profit organization made up of 52 national governments and members committed to the state sports industry, CNIGA is the largest association in California. Both Bear River Casino Resort and Blue Lake Casino and Hotel are members of CNIGA.
“Everyone has been insulted. Every tribal leader I’ve talked to says, ‘No, it’s not moving.’ But I believe that this starts the discussion for 2026,” the chairman of the meeting of the Indian Gaming Association Victor Rocha said on his website “The New Normal.” “I can’t say if these guys are involved, but if they want to spend half a billion on our behalf, it can change things. But I don’t see a way to do this. “
The two new efforts were presented by Kasey Thomspon and then signed by Ryan Tyler Walz. Thompson is the co-founder of the online gambling site, Pala Interactive. Rocha spoke out against the pair on Twitter in October.
“This thing is very dead. Kasey Thompson & Ryan Tyler Walz are idiots. You heard it here first,” Rocha tweeted after the trials were handed out late last month.
Rocha added more tweets about this week’s events, calling supporters “poker bros” and noting that their attempts are “deader than yesterday.”
Gaming revenue in California is a multi-billion dollar industry, according to the American Gaming Association. California’s casino gaming industry had $8.4 billion in revenue in 2016. The big dollar investment has led to repeated attempts to buy that market, but other goals have rubbed the chairmen of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association the wrong way.
13 And you will go back to taking the feet of the tribes into the fire, because you will ride with this, or we will do it to you. This will not work for us,” said CNIGA chairman James Siva.
Along with the financial challenges of raising these funds, the groups will need more than 800,000 signatures by the end of the summer for the bills to appear in the 2024 election.
Casinos, as well as horse racing, are legal forms of gambling in California. The Humboldt County Fair said the initiative does not involve the fair or horse races.
The CNIGA issued a statement against the bills in which Siva spoke disparagingly of his actions, in which he asked supporters to stop the project.
“All these activities were carried out with contempt by those who supported the project,” Siva said. “It’s hard not to be disappointed when we listen to these people speak. This is another example of foreign influences trying to divide and subjugate the Indian tribes.”
Dylan McNeill can be reached at 707-441-0526.