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"Evolve or Die": Tribal Chief Talks Draftkings Partnership in MI

Written by:
Gilbert Horowitz
Published on:
Aug/04/2020

Bryan Newland, chairman of the Bay Mills Indian Community, explained why his tribe was so quick to partner with Draftkings in an effort to bring legalized sports betting to Michigan.


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To date, most tribes have been resistant to regulation and taxation.  Not so with the Bay Mills Indian Community.

“A lot of tribes, us included, would prefer to continue gaming under IGRA and the model we built with blood, sweat, and tears over half a century now,” Newland said during a webinar hosted by Pechanga.net founder Victor Rocha last week. “But IGRA was a reactionary piece of legislation. Tribes had been doing gaming for a decade-and-a-half before IGRA came along, and the truth is we can’t wait for the U.S. Congress to catch up. We were faced with the prospect of evolve or die and that is why we made the practical decision to make this work.”

And why Draftkings?

From Sports Handle:

But what appealed to tribal leaders is DraftKings’ history of aggressively going after what it wants. The company already has live digital platforms in Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, and the Bay Mills view DraftKings as risk takers who get out ahead of the curve, which is much the way tribe defines itself.

“We had a very similar story,” Newland said. “They were out there before the law was clear on daily fantasy sports. They were going to do what they thought they could do in their best interest, and let everyone else catch up. Their desire to innovate and build the market rather than wait for others really kind of fit with who we are at Bay Mills. It ended up making the most sense.”

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambilng911.com

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