California’s secretary of state has approved signature gathering on petitions for an initiative that would allow sports betting in Indian casinos, an effort led by Kenneth R. Ramirez of the San Manuel Band of Missions Indians and other Southern California tribal leaders.
Petitions are already in circulation. Nearly 1 million valid signatures would need to be collected within the next few months to qualify for the Nov. 8 general election.
If approved, the new law could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in state revenue, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.
Officially, the deadline is 131 days before the general election, June 30. However, the state recommends signatures be filed two months before the deadline to allow time to verify the signatures.
Indian gaming is different from commercial gaming, according to an interview with Ramirez for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Law Magazine. Unlike profit-driven gaming, Indian gaming — more accurately called “tribal government gaming” — generates revenue for essential infrastructure and services in a tribe’s jurisdiction, such as education, health care, public safety, law enforcement and other common obligations, said the story by Paul Szydelko.
“Education is the only prescription for building understanding between Indian tribes and others about the uniqueness of tribal government gaming,” Ramirez said in the story published in December 2020 following a $9 million gift to UNLV. “The Native American Law and Governance initiative at the Boyd School of Law will help build that understanding.”
Sports wagering limited to those 21 and older. The initiative directs 15 percent of sports-wagering profits to nonparticipating tribes and 10 percent first to regulatory costs and then to homelessness and mental-health programs.
Along with Ramirez, the proponents of the measure are Bo Mazzetti of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians reservation in Valley Center and Jesus Tarango of the Pechanga Reservation in Temecula.