Distinguished for her years of experience in strategic planning and the gaming and hospitality industry, Melissa G. Helton has found vast success in a career spanning nearly 25 years. Since 2020, she has excelled as the president and general manager of FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing in Collinsville, Illinois. Among her responsibilities in her role spanning finance and business operations, she oversees general operations, leads executive meetings, liaises with jockeys and administers to horses after races.
Earlier in her professional journey, between 2018 and 2020, Ms. Helton served as senior vice president of finance for Del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo, New York. She has also been director of finance operations for Indiana Grand Racing & Casino in Shelbyville, Indiana, from 2015 to 2018 and senior manager of finance and accounting for Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Anderson, Indiana, from 2013 to 2015, both part of Centaur Gaming. Ms. Helton is also skilled as a controller, having served in the role for the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona, and the Apache Gold Casino Resort in San Carlos, Arizona, between 2011 and 2013. She was also a controller at the Tropicana-Belle of Baton Rouge in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from 2009 to 2011 and at Caesars Indiana in Elizabeth, Indiana, from 1998 to 2010.
Outside of her primary work and responsibilities, Ms. Helton dedicates time to serving as a member of the board of directors of the local chamber of commerce and department of agriculture. To prepare for her career, she earned a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Indiana University Southeast in 2003, not initially intending to enter the hospitality and sports fields. When a friend, who works as a recruiter, suggested that a career working with horse racing, sports and casinos was a perfect opportunity for her, she took the advice and has never looked back. Additionally, Ms. Helton adds that her profession has made her closer to her mother.
Upon reflection on her abundant career, Ms. Helton attributes her success to her mentors, including her first boss, who taught her many lessons about the industry. As a woman in a male-dominated industry, she feels incredibly proud to have led the change in the company culture at FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing, implementing an open-door policy and transparent environment. She has worked hard to change the culture and foster open communication, which has been met with great acclaim by employees throughout the company. With this sentiment, she takes pride in living by her motto, “If you stop and listen to everyone, you’ll learn more than you see.”
Looking toward the future of FanDuel Sportsbook and Horse Racing, Ms. Helton plans to break new ground, see the latest casino completed on their property and lead the company’s and property’s continued growth. She also hopes to continue to serve as a mentor for other women in her industry. A distinguished Marquis listee, Ms. Helton presently resides in Collinsville, Illinois. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her two Labrador retrievers.