FanDuel Appoints a New Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

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FanDuel has named E. Sequoyah Simermeyer, the former Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), as its new Vice President of Strategic Partnerships. This announcement comes less than a week after Simermeyer departs from the tribe, ensuring a seamless transition in his employment status. Simermeyer’s tenure as chairman spanned over four years, from 2019 to 2024.

Rikki Tanenbaum, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, commented on the appointment, highlighting the benefits of having Simermeyer join FanDuel. Tanenbaum emphasized Simermeyer’s extensive two-decade experience in public policy as a valuable asset to the company.

“Sequoyah Simermeyer has been at the forefront of shaping and safeguarding tribal gaming, focusing on priority issues and public policy for close to 25 years.”

We are very honored to welcome Chairman Simermeyer to the FanDuel leadership team, as he brings a career dedicated to addressing tribal economic development. With his guidance, we look forward to learning how to best partner with and support native sovereign nations across the country.”

FanDuel’s latest appointment marks the third executive from a tribal background to join their team since last year. In Oct. 2023, they hired Tanenbaum, the former Chief Operations Officer of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, as their senior vice president of strategic partnerships. Recently, they also brought on Frank Sizemore, formerly the vice president of operations at San Manuel, to serve as a vice president for strategic partnerships in January.

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Simermeyer Transitions to the Private Sector

Simermeyer mentioned that this marks his first foray into the private sector. Before his role as Chairman of the NIGC, he held positions in the public sector, including serving as an advisor to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. Following that, he transitioned to the role of Deputy Chief of Staff for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior, serving under multiple administrations. Before his involvement in Indian Affairs, he also held positions at the National Congress of American Indians.

“I am joining the private sector for the first time, and it mattered to me to join a team where I could use my background as a former regulator, legislative staffer and public servant to Indian Country.”

FanDuel is the leader in mobile gaming and has helped shape the rise of the legalized and regulated marketplace in the U.S. Mobile gaming remains a very young and dynamic industry, and I’m excited to help the team build out our capacity to work within Indian Country nationally to take advantage of opportunities ahead.”

Controversy Surrounding FanDuel and California Indian Tribes

FanDuel’s appointment extends beyond simply utilizing the expertise of locals to also establishing a meaningful relationship with tribal entities, which is crucial given the contentious history between FanDuel and California Indian Tribes.

In 2022, FanDuel, along with other operators like DraftKings, sought to introduce online sports betting to the Golden State by partnering with state tribes. However, this sparked controversy among California Indian Tribes because the proposal did not provide them with exclusive rights. Hence, this disagreement resulted in the failure of both ballots, Prop 26 and Prop 27.

Looking ahead, FanDuel’s President Christian Genetski addressed the situation at the Western Indian Gaming Conference, sponsored by FanDuel, held at the Pechanga Casino Resort in suburban Los Angeles. Genetski acknowledged the controversy as a result of a “well-intentioned but misinformed attempt,” and he hopes that moving forward they can build a better relationship and get to a place where they “can start to move the ball forward on a construct that the Indian country recognizes as a productive one.”

Currently, FanDuel has established partnerships with various tribal entities, including Connecticut’s Tribe and Washington’s Suquamish Tribe. These partnerships not only demonstrate FanDuel’s commitment to collaboration with indigenous communities but also entail the importance of fostering mutually beneficial relationships in the gaming industry.

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Tebearau Egbe

Tebearau Egbe

Tebearau Egbe is a seasoned gambling writer with over four years of experience. Armed with a Masters degree in philosophy, Egbe possesses a unique ability to dissect complex industry developments, distilling them into insightful narratives that captivate readers.

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