May 10, 2024 3 min read


Tribal Sovereignty Takes Center Stage in California Sports Betting Debate

The panel discussion at the SBC Summit North America underscored that acknowledging and respecting tribal sovereignty in California is essential for progress to occur

A panel discussion at the SBC Summit North America brought up the issue of sports betting in California. The emphasis fell on the role of tribal sovereignty in shaping the future of sports betting legalization in the state. Both tribal operators and betting companies participated focusing on various aspects of the contentious topic. 

From Opposition to Partnership: A Transformation in California’s Sports Betting Debate

During the panel discussion, the story of the vice president of strategic partnership for FanDuel Frank Sizemore emerged, reported CDC Gaming Reports. When he was still working for the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians he ferociously opposed the legalization of sports betting in California. Sizemore’s change of stance underscores a broader trend of evolving perspectives within the industry.

When speaking to the audience at the summit, Sizemore noted the historical tensions between tribal operators and betting firms. However, he also expressed his commitment to regaining trust and working on productive partnerships to resolve those tensions. Sizemore’s narrative underlined the key takeaway from the panel discussion: progress would be possible in California as long as tribal sovereignty is being acknowledged and respected.

Andrew Alejandro, Chairman of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, also reiterated how important sovereignty is to tribal communities. He highlighted that safeguarding tribal interests is paramount when working on sports betting legalization and that stakeholders should refrain from any violation of their autonomy.

Tribal Leaders Urge Collaborative Effort in Bid for Legalized Sports Betting

Other tribal leaders also participated in the discussion. Daniel Little, Chief Intergovernmental Affairs Officer of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, talked about the substantial economic contributions of tribal gaming operations to the state of California, highlighting the symbiotic relationship between the state and the Native American tribes. He further emphasized that any regulatory framework must uphold tribal sovereignty and honor commitments made to voters. 

Amy Howe, CEO of FanDuel, also joined the discussion by noting prior setbacks faced during attempts to introduce legal sports betting in California. Her comments added to the common paradigm shift in the industry, which now recognizes that tribal consent is vital if any future progress is to be made Alejandro concluded the discussion by urging all stakeholders to collaborate and contribute to a constructive dialogue between the tribes and betting operators.

He once again pointed out how important it is to cater to the diverse needs of tribal communities and find solutions that will benefit all stakeholders. He acknowledged that there may be disagreements along the way but underscored the shared goal of legalized sports betting in California.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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