Tribes provide input on sports betting offers

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California voters will soon decide the fate of legalized sports betting in the Golden State. The Chico Enterprise-Record reached out to local tribes for input and analysis on the two proposals.

Proposition 26, according to California, would allow in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and racetracks on condition that racetracks and casinos make payments to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office. The proposal also adds roulette gambling and dice games to tribal casinos, as well as new ways of enforcing certain state gambling laws.

Proposal 27 would allow online and mobile sports betting to be offered by tribes and gaming companies that do business with tribes, the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The proposal would also require companies to make certain payments to the state for regulatory costs and address homelessness. Finally, the proposal also creates a new regulatory entity for online sports betting and offers new ways to reduce illegal online sports betting, the bureau said.

Local Tribes

Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians Chairman Andrew Alejandre said the tribe, which operates the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning, opposes both Proposition 26 and Proposition 27.

Alejandre said that of the two sports betting proposals, proposal 27 is the most important as it could open the door for foreign companies to do business with tribes.

“We feel like we have to protect that,” Alejandre said. “Allowing sports betting, even in a casino, will require a cut. It’s our job to protect that. By allowing these companies in, I think it will damage our sovereignty.”

Alejandre said cutting casino revenue would not only harm the tribe but also the communities that benefit from the Paskenta Nomlaki Foundation.

Alejandre explained why Proposition 26 is also not supported by the tribe.

“Our problem with Proposition 26 is that we understand it includes racetracks,” he said. “Many tribes do not support horse racing tracks – none of them are on tribal lands. In my opinion, it opens the door to opportunities for off-reservation play and getting out of tribal lands. Part of what we’re trying to do is keep gaming on tribal lands.”

Vice Chairman of the Mooretown Rancheria of the Maidu Indians of California, Alan Archuleta, told this newspaper that the tribe that owns the Feather Falls Casino opposes Proposition 27.

Archuleta said linking devices to online betting could increase a child’s access to gambling while gambling on tribal lands is more regulated. Archuleta also said Proposition 27 is moving forward, then out-of-state gaming companies will have access to the California market.

“If you think extrastate corporations are going to help homeless people in California, vote yes, but I wonder what they’re doing for the homeless right now,” Archuleta said.

Archuleta did not comment in support or disapproval of Proposition 26.

The Mechoopda Indian tribe of the Chico Rancheria declined to comment on Proposals 26 and 27. This newspaper contacted the Maidu Indians’ Berry Creek Rancheria on several occasions, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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