10 Women Rising in Gaming
Nicole Bartz Metral
Current company and role: DraftKings– Corporate Counsel
Hometown: Palos Verdes, California
First job in the gaming industry: I started my career in gaming when I was at my most recent law firm, Blank Rome LLP. I advised gaming clients and assisted with compliance and regulatory matters, new products offerings, launching in new jurisdictions, and licensing.
Did you apply for work in other industries?
I have always been in legal, but not always in gaming.
I also wanted a career related to the sports industry since I graduated from the University of Michigan with a Sport Management degree. After law school and for the first seven years of my career, I did civil litigation, mainly business disputes and real estate litigation, in both state and federal courts. My most recent law firm had an outstanding Gaming Team, and after getting a chance to work on a few projects, I knew this was something I could enjoy doing every day. I was fortunate enough to work with amazing mentors who taught me the ins and outs of the industry.
Do you think it was easier to find a job in gaming than other career paths?
While there are a lot of opportunities in gaming generally, I think having or starting a legal career in gaming can be more challenging compared to other industries because it is a niche area.
What do you like about working in gaming?
I love that the gaming industry is innovative, fast-paced, and constantly changing—and being in legal, I touch so many areas—compliance, intellectual property, technology, sports, entertainment, finance, real estate, privacy, data protection, marketing, responsible gaming, and more.
Did anything surprise you about the industry when you first started?
How fast it grew after the United States Supreme Court overturned PAPSA in 2018. I was also surprised to learn how widespread it was, especially internationally.
Were you familiar with gambling before landing a job in the industry? What were your thoughts about it before starting to work in gaming? Has your impression of the industry changed at all?
I was somewhat familiar with the industry but had limited knowledge and assumed, especially before 2018, that a career in gaming would be limited to the retail casino space or confined to Las Vegas.
Now that I am heavily involved, I appreciate how intricate the gaming industry really is and how many different career options there are.
Can you envision making a career in the gaming industry? What are your long-term goals?
Absolutely, and I plan on continuing my career in gaming!
My goal is to continue to move up in my current organization’s legal department and be a sought-after public speaker for events. I also aspire to be at the executive level one day and to serve on boards. I am currently on two committees for the Global Gaming Women organization that offers educational and networking opportunities and leadership development for women in the gaming industry. I look forward to continuing my involvement with Global Gaming Women, providing more assistance and mentorship, and forging a path for all women in gaming now and those to come!