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Archiving Indian Country

Jesse Robles, Executive Editor, Pechanga.net

Archiving Indian Country

Jesse Robles is a busy man, and it’s just how he likes it. He juggles many hats beyond his primary job as executive editor of Pechanga.net.

“I love what I do, and I’m energized by the teams I collaborate with and the work we do. The search for work-life harmony is less about effort and more about natural alignment,” Robles says.

But Robles has a couple of tools that help him juggle. Tapping into technology to manage time is one. The other is a power nap. “That’s a skill I honed since my college rowing days, which required managing both late nights and early mornings effectively,” says Robles, who also counts meditation as a way to relax.

Robles was raised in Spring Valley, San Diego, with the highest concentration of tribal nations of any county in the U.S. “The rich cultural heritage and the role of tribal governance in shaping our community have deeply impacted me,” he says.

The result steered Robles into public service.

His passion for journalism goes back to his work with the high school newspaper. He went to San Diego State University to study finance. Robles began his association with Pechanga.net during his years at SDSU. He took a casino operations class with Dr. Kate Spilde, the director of the Sycuan Institute at SDSU. Victor Rocha, founder of Pechanga.net, gave a guest lecture about the online publication.

“This idea, a sort of guerilla journalism—where one person’s curiosity and drive could create a platform that informs and educates so many—was incredibly inspiring,” Robles says. “It demonstrated how an individual’s passion and initiative could make a significant impact on an entire industry.”

Rocha talked about a conference he was putting together which he named Indian Country Online. Robles asked if he could help with the conference and attend the various sessions.

“Victor later invited me to help with the Pechanga.net website and contribute to the educational content for the Indian Gaming Association and the Global Gaming Expo. His mentorship and the experiences I gained through these roles were invaluable, profoundly shaping my career in the gaming industry.”

According to Rocha, Pechanga.net functioned as a support mechanism for the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and other California tribes as the gaming industry unfolded.

Pechanga.net expanded its coverage from California to the global industry. “Beyond gaming,” Rocha says, “the platform addresses a wide array of issues critical to Indian Country, including land rights, environmental protection, public health, and the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous people. These topics accentuate the unique characteristics of tribal government gaming, setting it apart from other legal gambling forms.”

Rocha is just one of many mentors Robles has encountered in his career. “Rocha’s unwavering work ethic and dedication profoundly influenced my career direction,” Robles says.

He also counts Roger Gros, publisher of Global Gaming Business, and Steve and Rob Burke at Indian Gaming magazine for their insights. “They have greatly enriched my professional life,” he says.

Pechanga.net will expand its function as sports betting moves towards consensus in California. As for Robles, he is also preparing to attend law school and work on a few other undertakings.

“Some of these recent projects include the foundation for a venture capital firm and the launch of Food & Gaming magazine, an industry trade publication focused on the world of casino food and beverage.”

Bill Sokolic is a veteran journalist who has covered gaming and tourism for more than 25 years as a staff writer and freelancer with various publications and wire services. He's also written stories for news, entertainment, features, and business. He co-authored Atlantic City Revisited, a pictorial history of the resort.

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