Statement from CNIGA Chairman James Siva on Sen. Dodd’s Sports Betting Language

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: James May
(916) 754-7540

Statement from CNIGA Chairman James Siva on Sen. Dodd’s Sports Betting Language

May 28, 2020

After initial review of Senator Dodd’s recently updated language to amend the State Constitution to allow sports wagering, we have some concerns. First , while on its face this language seeks to amend the constitution to legalize and regulate sports wagering in California, this language also provides California’s commercial card room industry with a massive expansion of games, by legalizing the use of proposition players to serve as the bank, a notion that has been rejected by California's voters and fundamentally changes the legal structure of California's peer-to-peer gaming industry.

While we appreciate Senator Dodd’s attempt to address sports wagering, we are vehemently opposed to including an expansion of gaming to a segment of the gaming industry that has proved, for decades, to be unwilling to follow the rules and regulations that guarantee a fair and safe gambling environment, and that comply with federal laws designed to stop money laundering.

We urge Senator Dodd to remove the provisions relating to California Cardrooms until that industry exhibits consistent behavior that proves that they are both willing and able to operate within the confines of the laws and regulations that currently exist.

We understand the need for the state to find additional revenue during such a dire time, although by the time this measure actually could be implemented, we would hope that the current pandemic will have long since subsided. Tribal governmental budgets have also seen extraordinary losses due to the closure of our casinos that provide the majority of governmental revenue amid the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we must not ignore one disaster in order to remedy another. We must move carefully and thoughtfully. As valued partners with the state of California, our tribal governments would welcome the opportunity to provide input on a significant proposed change in the gambling policy of California, and look forward to more open and meaningful discussions.

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