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BetMGM CEO Adam Greenblatt has said that Californian tribes must be partners in any online sports betting regulation push.

The executive made the comments at NEXT Summit New York 2024, during a panel discussion that touched on the prospects of Californian OSB legalisation.

“California has unfortunately snatched defeat from the jaws of victory too many times before,” he said.

“Sharing is hard in California – there are too many incumbents and very strong influential groupings.

“And ultimately, the unlock for California, as everybody probably knows is the tribes. And so, the passage of sports wagering in California is a deal which includes the tribes as partners.”

The CEO’s comments are part of a wider trend of national gaming operators seeking to build bridges with the Californian tribes.

Operator-tribal relations hit low ebb in California

Relations hit a low ebb in 2022, when online operators and tribal entities went head-to-head with duelling ballot initiatives that both failed.

The contest was the also most expensive ballot measure fight in US history, with various factions ultimately spending a record $450m during the campaign.

Last month during the Western Indian Gaming Conference, FanDuel president Christian Genetski apologised for the way the business approached the issue.

“I think if I’m being a little charitable, it was what I would describe as a well-intentioned but uninformed and misguided attempt,” said Genetski at the trade show, which it sponsored.

“It was definitely a spectacular failure from our perspective, but that’s OK. It wasn’t the time, and it wasn’t the right way, and we understand that.”

FanDuel has recently hired several individuals from Indian Country in a bid to mend bridges, most recently with the hire of former National Indian Gaming Commission chair E. Sequoyah Simermeyer.

In this role of VP of strategic partnerships, he will join former tribal gaming executives Rikki Tanenbaum and Frank Sizemore as SVP and VP respectively.

Another aborted regulation push fizzled out earlier in the year, after a new set of ballot initiatives again failed to achieve tribal support.

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