California could have a crowded ballot next year regarding sports betting.
Several tribes — Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, and Wilton Rancheria — sent a letter to other federally recognized tribes in the state asking them to consider a different proposal that would keep all sports betting under control of the tribes themselves.
The letter was first reported by the Sacramento Bee on Tuesday afternoon.
If their proposal is successful it could wind up as one of four on the ballot in November 2022 with the potential to regulate sports betting in California.
Sports Betting Already On The Ballot Next Year
There are as many as three other initiatives that could legalize sports betting in California next year.
The first, which is already scheduled to appear before the voters, is sponsored by more than a dozen tribes in the state. The California Legalize Sports Betting on American Indian Lands Initiative was certified as having more than one million verified signatures earlier this year.
The proposal is to legalize sports betting at tribal casinos and put retail sportsbooks at certain racetracks. Sports betting on tribal lands, as well as roulette and dice games, would be permitted after a new tribal compact was reached with the state.
Various sports bets would be allowed, including professional and out-of-state collegiate events. Bets on California college teams would be prohibited.
There are two other pending referendum questions that could also make the ballot.
Major sportsbooks such as FanDuel and DraftKings are behind an initiative that would bring numerous sports betting options to the state and also help fund homelessness and mental health initiatives. The state’s attorney general’s office is expected to make a decision later this week on whether they can move forward collecting signatures for a petition to put it on the ballot.
A separate initiative put forward by local communities would also help fund homelessness in the state. Similar to the sportsbook proposal, this one still needs to file the requisite signatures for it to appear on the ballot.
New Initiative Puts Sports Betting Squarely In Hands Of Tribes
The new proposal, according to The Bee, is similar to the compact that was reached between Florida and Seminole Tribe, which recently went live with sports betting. Under the terms of the new proposal, mobile sports betting would be legal provided all the bets were placed through servers located on tribal lands.
“If the DraftKings Measure or the Cardrooms Measure passes in November 2022, tribes would lose their exclusivity to class III gaming in California,” the letter said, according to The Bee. “Such passage would accelerate the legalization of online gaming by non-tribal interests, threatening the existence of Indian gaming as we know it.”
The tribes told The Bee they expect to file the appropriate paperwork with the state later this week.