California must fight back against out-of-state sports bookers – Capitol Weekly | Capitol weekly


Since the US Supreme Court’s 2018 decision to legalize sports betting, the majority of states have legalized some form of sports betting. This year, California voters could be asked to choose between several options for legalizing sports betting. As tribal leaders who have honored the decades of trust California voters have put in, it’s important that voters understand what’s at stake.

Today, the potential of the California sports betting market is attracting out-of-state operators, just like it did in the gold rush days of the mid-1800s.

Today, tribal casinos in California generate $23 billion in economic activity, including nearly 200,000 jobs for Californians…

Opportunists are flocking to the Golden State to serve their own interests with a proposal that will require abandoning the honorable relationship between tribal governments and the state that has worked so well for more than two decades. We Californians need to consider how we would responsibly implement legalized sports betting.

Since 2000, tribal governments, in partnership with the State of California, have invested time and resources to create a strong and effective regulatory environment that provides a safe and fair gaming environment for our guests.

Our commitment to sharing the benefits of tribal gaming stems from our indigenous values, which have served us well since our inception. We continue to demonstrate our stake in the future prosperity of California and the local jurisdictions surrounding our reservations.

Today, tribal casinos in California generate $23 billion in economic activity, including nearly 200,000 jobs for Californians and $80 million a year in infrastructure and local communities.

Since 2003, San Manuel has provided over $300 million to nonprofit organizations and community infrastructure needs — fire, police, medical, education, health care, social services and homelessness.

As part of its Sky River Casino project, Wilton Rancheria will invest $186 million over 20 years in police, fire, schools, parks, roads and other essential services in the city of Elk Grove and Sacramento County.

The Rincon Tribe is proud to serve communities throughout San Diego County through investments that support various organizations and charities that provide comprehensive health care, preserve San Diego’s resources, and serve military veterans. Rincon has generated millions of dollars in total economic output, supported nearly 3,500 jobs and provided millions in state tax revenues.

If we allow foreign corporate operators to gain a foothold in the California market, it will do tremendous harm to our trusted and balanced gaming environment. There is a far better way for all Californians to enjoy the benefits of responsible online sports betting while maintaining the promise and partnership of the Tribal/State Gaming Compacts.

We believe that any future sports betting activity should incorporate these core principles:

–California’s Native American tribes should conduct sports betting based on a proven 20-year track record of successful operations and effective regulation.

-Receipts from online sports betting must be shared with our state to fight homelessness and with tribes that lack significant gaming revenue. Many tribes live in remote areas where operating casinos is not economically viable. A revenue fund will share sports betting earnings with non-casino tribes to help alleviate poverty on their reservations. The enterprise operators’ initiative proposes a tiny share for our state, while the remaining 90% is quickly shipped abroad. That’s a bad deal for California.

–We also believe that any future online sports betting action must prevent underage betting on smartphones or computers. Any future online sports betting system must require personal registration with reliable age verification at tribal facilities. The proposed initiative by the corporate operators is completely lacking in these vital safeguards against underage betting.

Tribal sovereignty and game exclusivity have allowed tribes and communities to rebuild and sustain themselves for decades. We urge voters to consider the consequences and say “NO” to out-of-state operators.

This is a Main Street versus Wall Street question. Only such a “California First” approach will bring our state the full benefits of online sports betting, a fair share of new revenue, and a safe and well-run California sports betting marketplace.

Editor’s Note: Bo Mazzetti is the Chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, Ken Ramirez is the Chairman of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, and Jesus Tarango is the Chairman of the Wilton Rancheria.

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