The Indian Gaming Association (IGA) hosted its annual Mid-Year Conference from September 12 to 14, 2023, at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT. This event provided a vital platform for leaders in the gaming industry to convene, discuss pressing issues, and celebrate the achievements of the Indian gaming sector, including the thriving online casinos in India. Here’s a concise summary of the conference’s key highlights.
Ernie Stevens, Jr., IGA Chairman, commenced the event by highlighting the historical significance of the Foxwoods Resort Casino in tribal gaming history and celebrating the industry’s continued success. While the conference featured a diverse range of topics, it predominantly focused on the industry’s current challenges.
Unity among member tribes was a central theme, emphasizing their shared responsibility to protect tribal sovereignty and uplift Native communities. Notable accomplishments included the Indian gaming industry’s remarkable growth, with revenues exceeding $43 billion in 2022, along with $5.4 billion in ancillary revenues, resulting in a total revenue of $48.4 billion.
The conference delved into legislative matters, discussing concerns such as a potential government shutdown and other issues affecting tribes. Federal updates were provided by Chief Lynn Malerba of the Mohegan Tribe, while regulatory insights came from Sequoyah Simermeyer, Chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission. Paula Hart, Director of the Office of Indian Gaming at the Department of the Interior, discussed the commitment to revise the 25 CFR 293 regulation on Class III Tribal-State Gaming Compacts.
The conference facilitated a vital meeting between IGA and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Tribal Leaders Task Force. The IGA/NCAI Task Force aims to protect tribal governments’ inherent gaming rights, supporting their communities and preserving Native lands.
The John Kieffer Sovereignty Award was presented to Denise Harvey, Councilwoman of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, recognizing her commitment to IGA’s mission. Harvey emphasized the multifaceted responsibilities of tribal leaders.
Panel discussions covered various topics, including adapting to industry changes, attracting the next generation of gamers, entrepreneurship in tribal gaming, understanding tribal sovereignty and culture, navigating tribal regulations, innovative marketing strategies, and diversifying into online gaming.
In conclusion, the 2023 IGA Mid-Year Conference was a pivotal gathering for tribal leaders, industry experts, and advocates. It addressed challenges, celebrated achievements, and fortified the Indian gaming community’s unity, including the flourishing world of online casinos in India. The Indian gaming community eagerly anticipates their next rendezvous, the 2024 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in Anaheim, CA, from April 8 to 11.