MASHANTUCKET, CT. (September 19, 2023) – The Indian Gaming Association (IGA) presented the annual Mid-Year Conference at the Foxwood Resort & Casino in Mashantucket, CT. The conference included a significant focus on the current gaming industry landscapes with a significant number of conference sessions on various topics.
While the three-day confab is hosting an array of active topics and top-notch presenters on all aspects of the Indian gaming industry, it was the meeting with the member tribes of IGA that brought to the forefront the current issues with reports by significant federal representatives from Washington, D.C.
In his opening address to tribal members, Chairman Stevens shared, “It is great to be together again because we have much to celebrate and new challenges and opportunities to address as we continue our work to protect Tribal Sovereignty and strengthen Native communities.”
“This year has proven to be a busy one for the Indian Gaming Association. The Indian Gaming Industry has accomplished so much because of the tireless work of tribal leaders, gaming professionals, and our outstanding gaming operations, from the regulator and commissioner to the workers on the gaming floor. Because of that, we have excellent industry numbers to share.” Stevens said.
In 2022, Indian gaming revenues topped Indian Gaming grossed $43 billion in gaming revenues and $5.4 billion in ancillary revenues, bringing the total revenue for 2022 to $48.4 billion.
Stevens added, “These numbers are affirmation that our Industry continues to overcome challenges, whether it be a pandemic or legislative and regulatory hurdles.”
Chairman Stevens also touched upon the 2024 National elections. “We are already working to get our forces out throughout Indian Country to engage tribal communities about the importance of voting. He said, “These elections, like all, will have wide-ranging impacts and consequences on our efforts to advance Native communities nationwide.
Jason Giles, Executive Director of IGA, provides the legislative landscape update, with a focused discussion on the impending potential of a government shutdown on October 1st and discussions on other current issues impacting tribes.
Giles said, “First and foremost on our minds right now in Indian Country is the looming potential of another government shutdown.” Giles added, “The last disastrous government shutdown in 2018 cost American taxpayers more than $11 billion, and the damage and lasting impacts on local economies throughout Indian Country were many times worse.” He said, “BIA maintained roads were ignored on the Reservation, BIA police and tribal police were furloughed, Elders lost access to the Indian Health Service and critical health services, including dialysis and cancer treatments, and so much more.”
Federal updates were presented by United States Treasure Chief Lynn Malerba, who presented Chairman Stevens with a one-dollar bill, one of the first with her signature as Treasure of the United States.
National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman Sequoyah Simermeryer shared regulatory updates related to gaming.
Paula Hart, Director of the Office of Indian Gaming, Department of Interior, spoke at length of her office’s commitment to revising the 25 CFR 293 regulation on Class III Tribal-State Gaming Compacts. The proposed regulation is nearly ready for submission to OMB. After review by OMB, we will know whether the proposed regulation has a 90- or 30-day period before implementation.
Additionally, her office is working with Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland to update the 25 CFR 151 regulation on Land into Trust. This regulatory change is spearheaded by the Assistant Secretary. The proposed regulation includes DOI standards for implementing Carcieri v. Salazar and reduces processing time and uncertainty by identifying the documents needed for a complete application, after which the BIA will issue a decision within 120 days. Indian Country anxiously awaits these changes.
The next Indian Gaming gathering is the 2024 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention, April 8 -11, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.