Christine Faria: Hey, everyone, Chris Faria here, Executive Editor, Tribal Gaming and Hospitality Magazine. Welcome to a special edition of Solution Center where we identify one specific operational issue that has been top of mind in our industry and we talk about ways of overcoming the specific challenge. Today we’re talking about entertainment. I’m so pleased to welcome Kell Houston, President of Houston Productions, who has worked in Tribal gaming for over 20 years as a trusted partner. He’s also a multi-year recipient of the International Entertainment Association Casino Buyer of the Year Award. Welcome to the program Kell.
Kell Houston: Thank you, Chris. It’s a pleasure to be part of this, and it’s great to talk to you today.
Christine Faria: Well, let’s get right into it. As we talked about, we’re going to laser focus on one issue that you believe is keeping your clients up at night and talk about some solutions. So here’s a format: You’re going to describe the core issue to that challenge, and then you’re going to make a recommendation. You ready to go?
Kell Houston: Yeah, let’s give it a shot.
Christine Faria: Kell, what is one challenge that you see your clients facing today?
Kell Houston: The biggest challenge is a paperwork challenge because all of our events for entertainment are backed up with artist contracts and artist riders. Those artist contracts and riders have to be approved by the Tribal casino and legal. What’s happening is the language in those contracts and riders from agencies are all one sided and they’re coming over to the Tribal legal team. The Tribal attorneys are trying to pick their way through that language and in some cases these are attorneys not well versed in entertainment law . They come back with counterpoints that aren’t necessarily always acceptable to the agencies. So this paperwork snafu goes back and forth with language and legalese going on between two attorneys. It bogs down the entire process of putting on an event because we have to get the paperwork straight between the Tribe and the artist. And that’s not always easy to do with the back and forth.
It’s the biggest thing that bogs down our concert business today and what we found was the solution to bring ourselves as buyers into the middle of this, to sign the contracts on the agency side and do separate contracts on the Tribal side. We put ourselves in the middle and can facilitate the paperwork and then expedite getting these contracts signed and done so that then you’re marketing and advertising and start for a show. We can get everything up and running because otherwise we’ve spent, weeks and weeks with paperwork back and forth. So our solution has been to try to step into the middle here and sign contracts on both sides, keeping everything transparent so that everybody sees what’s going on, that way we can facilitate the paperwork much more quickly.
On top of all that, neither side (artist and Tribe) are very willing to compromise. Tribal attorneys are asking for clean copies of the paperwork with no mark ups, which is virtually impossible. The entertainment industry understands Tribal sovereignty. We just need the Tribal side to be more aware that all this wording can be interpreted so many different ways. The point is we want to put together agreements with artists and have successful concerts. Let’s all come to some common agreement so marketing can do their job
Christine Faria: That sounds like a great solution because at the end of the day the industry has been shut down for over two years and casinos want to start promoting their event, make sure their contracts are fair and nothing is delaying the process to get folks through their casino doors. So thank you for sharing that with us. And if folks would like to find out more about this and how a buyer like Kell can help in this process you could reach firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.houstonproductions.net for more information.