Measures Would Expand Urban Casinos and Legalize Online Gaming While Undermining Indian Gaming That Has Helped Support Tribal Self-Sufficiency
Today, the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) and the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nations (TASIN) – collectively representing 43 California Indian Tribes – joined a broad coalition of Indian Tribes in announcing strong opposition to two proposed ballot measures that would greatly expand gaming in California, seriously undermining tribal sovereignty and the voters’ repeated support for Indian gaming in California. TASIN and CNIGA are two of the oldest and largest organizations representing tribal governments in California. The first measure – the Card Room Gaming Expansion Scheme – is sponsored by a handful of card rooms and their third-party casino bankers. California card rooms have been raided and fined over $8 million in recent years for misleading state regulators and violating anti-money laundering laws. Their measure would authorize a massive expansion of urban casino gaming in California by letting cardrooms offer Nevada-style games, while also allowing cardrooms, out-of-state online gaming corporations and many others to offer online and mobile sports wagering throughout the state. The second measure – the Corporate Online Sports Gaming Proposition – would also authorize a massive expansion of online sports gaming in California. The corporate measure was written by and for the sole benefit of out-of-state online gaming corporations. It would give them near total control of the online sports wagering market in California, undermining tribal rights and self-sufficiency, while exposing Californians to major new risks. Contrary to what its backers say, this measure is not “complementary” to the tribal-backed in-person sports wagering measure already scheduled for the November 2022 ballot, but rather a competing initiative that significantly expands online and mobile gambling. In fact, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office recently said, gaming tribes would have to “choose to give up some of the rights they possess due to their special status under state law” in order to be eligible to offer online sports wagering. “These deceptive measures were written by and for the sole financial benefit of their corporate sponsors and funders,” said Chairman Anthony Roberts, Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. “These measures would be bad for California and bad for tribes. We are prepared to wage a vigorous and well-funded campaign to educate the voters and ensure the measures are defeated.” If they qualify for the ballot and are approved by California voters, these propositions would authorize the largest expansion of gaming in the state’s history, disrupting the commitment that California voters have made to Indian tribes for over two decades. Tribal casinos currently provide nearly 125,000 jobs across California, generate $20 billion for the state economy, and provide tribal communities with vital funding for housing, education, healthcare, jobs and economic opportunities. “For more than two decades, California voters have stood with tribes and we’re proud to have consistently upheld our commitment to this state and to the voters,” said Chairman Kenneth Kahn, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians. “We’re confident that the voters will once again stand with the vast majority of Indian tribes in opposing these deceptive and harmful measures.” “Don’t be fooled,” said Chairman James Siva of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association. “These measures are not a fix to homelessness, but rather a massive explosion of gaming that will directly undercut tribal sovereignty and self-sufficiency.” Both measures are being deceptively promoted as a “solution” to homelessness. But neither measure provides any guarantee that funds generated by the measure will actually be used to solve the problem. Look no further than the State Lottery—voters were promised billions in new revenue for public education, but decades later, it has failed to live up to the promise.
“We remain committed to responsible sports wagering at tribal casinos that have a proven track record of operating safe, regulated gaming in this state,” said Chairman Greg Sarris, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. “We are prepared to make our case to the voters, just as we have in previous elections, to oppose these deceptive and risky propositions.”