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FanDuel CEO Engages with Tribes on California Sports Betting

FanDuel CEO Amy Howe participates in a public discussion with tribal leaders at the Indian Gaming Association Convention in Anaheim, California, reflecting on the lessons learned from past challenges and emphasizing the importance of collaboration and tribal sovereignty in shaping the future of sports betting in California.
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Branimir Ivanov | Senior News Contributor

Updated: Apr 15, 2024

FanDuel CEO Engages with Tribes on California Sports Betting

FanDuel CEO Amy Howe found herself in a public dialogue with two prominent opponents of the California online sports betting initiative her company spearheaded in 2022. The venue was the Indian Gaming Association Convention in Anaheim, California, where Howe shared the stage with California Nations Indian Gaming Association Chairman James Siva and Pechanga Development Corp. Director of Public Affairs Jacob Mejia.

 

The Key Movements

  1. Reconciliation Efforts: FanDuel CEO Amy Howe engages in a public dialogue with prominent opponents of the California online sports betting initiative, signaling the company's commitment to mend ties with California Indian tribes after a contentious 2022 ballot campaign.
  2. Tribal Sovereignty: The discussion at the Indian Gaming Association Convention focuses on the nuances of tribal sovereignty and the role of sports betting operators like FanDuel in respecting and navigating the tribes' inherent authority to govern themselves and control gaming within their territories.
  3. Lessons Learned and Collaboration: Howe reflects on the lessons learned from the failed 2022 campaign and highlights FanDuel's efforts to better understand tribal perspectives. The dialogue underscores the importance of collaboration and tribal consensus for the success of future sports betting initiatives in California.

 

The event, held at the Anaheim Convention Center near Disneyland, symbolized FanDuel's concerted effort to mend ties with California Indian tribes after a contentious 2022 ballot campaign on sports betting. As Howe took the stage, the atmosphere was palpably tense, akin to navigating a roller coaster ride without the safety harness, bracing for tough questions and critical scrutiny.

Mejia's acknowledgment of Howe's presence was laced with a tinge of irony, recognizing both her bravery and the challenges ahead with the humorous quip, “On the other hand, you know what they say about the first person through the wall.” Howe, exhibiting a blend of humility and humor, openly acknowledged the setbacks faced during the 2022 campaign, describing it as a “spectacular fail” with characteristic candor.

The dialogue, titled “Tribal Sovereignty in the New Frontier of Sports Wagering,” delved into the nuances of tribal sovereignty and the role of sports betting operators like FanDuel in navigating California's evolving gaming landscape. Howe articulated her vision of sovereignty, emphasizing the tribes' inherent authority to govern themselves and preserve their cultural heritage. She reiterated FanDuel's commitment to collaborative partnerships with tribes, recognizing the paramount importance of respecting tribal sovereignty and exclusivity over gaming in California.

Reflecting on the lessons learned from the failed 2022 campaign, Howe highlighted FanDuel's concerted efforts to better understand tribal perspectives and forge strategic partnerships. She underscored the imperative of tribal consensus and cooperation for the success of future sports betting initiatives in California.

Siva echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the tribes' steadfast commitment to maintaining control of gaming operations in California. He stressed the need for patience and collaboration, urging operators like FanDuel to listen to tribal voices and respect their sovereignty.

 

“Reflecting on the lessons learned from the failed 2022 campaign, Howe highlighted FanDuel's concerted efforts to better understand tribal perspectives and forge strategic partnerships. She underscored the imperative of tribal consensus and cooperation for the success of future sports betting initiatives in California.”

 

The Future

Following the panel discussion, Howe expressed gratitude for the opportunity to engage with tribal leaders and reiterated FanDuel's commitment to working collaboratively with tribes to navigate the complex landscape of sports wagering legalization in California.

The dialogue between FanDuel and tribal leaders marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to legalize sports betting in California. As stakeholders continue to navigate the complexities of tribal sovereignty and regulatory frameworks, the outcome of these discussions will shape the future of sports wagering in the Golden State.

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