December 15, 2020 Sports Betting, Tribal, Legal, Land-Based

California tribes collect over 1.4 million signatures supporting sports betting

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California tribal leaders have submitted a ballot initiative with more than 1.4 million signatures to government officials, in a bid to legalize sports betting in the state.

Tribal gaming leaders earlier this month claimed enough signatures had been received to allow Indian casinos and licensed racetracks to operate retail sportsbooks across the state.

Almost one million signatures were necessary to qualify for the referendum for the November 2020 election.

Tribes throughout California announced plans for the ballot initiative at the end of last year, but that process was delayed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The deadline was then extended by 90 days by a state judge.

Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians vice president of public affairs, Jacob Mejia, said: “More than 1.4 million Californians signed the petition, reflecting strong support to allow sports wagering in a responsible manner as set forth in the initiative.”

Mejia added the initiative “will regulate sports wagering and generate new revenues for public safety, mental health programs and more, while giving Californians the opportunity to participate in this activity.”

Three potentially controversial issues surrounding the ballot remain, however, with mobile sports betting not included, wagering on games involving California’s colleges prohibited, and the fact it does not allow participation for the state’s 72 cardroom casinos.

California would join New York, Michigan, New Mexico and Mississippi as US states where sports betting is on offer at tribal casinos.

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