California Withdraws Betting Initiative After Facing Tribal Backlash

Efforts to Legalize Sports Betting in California Fall Short Due to Lack of Tribe Support

Despite repeated efforts, the push to legalize sports betting in California has faced numerous setbacks. The latest blow to the initiative comes as Kasey Thompson, co-founder of Eagle1 Acquisitions Corp. LLC, announced that he is abandoning his plans to put the sports betting initiative on the 2024 ballot.

Thompson initially expressed his intention to gather over 874,000 signatures to qualify the initiative for the November ballot. He even had a company ready to print 1.2 million petitions. However, he emphasized that the support of the state’s tribes was crucial in order to move the initiative forward.

While initially receiving support from four tribes, Thompson faced significant opposition from the state’s largest tribes, leading to insufficient overall tribe support for the initiative. In light of this, Thompson has decided to forego the initiative, citing the division it has caused among the tribes.

“This initiative was supposed to be for the tribes but is only causing division. That was never my intent. I see now the needed unity is not coming, and so I’m standing good to my word and not moving forward,” said Thompson.

The lack of tribe support has cast uncertainty over the future of legal sports betting in California. Even if another entity attempts to take up the initiative, the limited time for discussion with the state’s tribes and the collection of signatures poses a challenge. Alternatively, a push from lawmakers may emerge as another path toward legal betting in the state.