United we stand: cross-cultural collaboration at Juegos Miami 2017

United we stand: cross-cultural collaboration at Juegos Miami 2017

The current political climate seems to be overwhelmingly in favour of separatism. From Brexit Island, and the rise of the far-right in France, to Trump’s Wall across the Mexican border, we live in a world where we appear only to wish to distance ourselves from one another, despite technological advances making it ever -easier for us to bridge the gap.

Amidst this discord then, it was heartening to witness the large-scale sharing of experiences and exchange of ideas that took place against the backdrop of ICE Totally Gaming 2017. This year’s Juegos Miami (31st May – 2nd June) is taking inspiration from that experience. Juegos Miami has been committed to building a sharing community; uniting as many of the regional markets as possible in a safe, dedicated space to brainstorm ideas and work toward solutions.

The Latin American market is incredibly open and outward looking. Countries are not afraid to recognise inhibitors of progress, and are willing to team up to find the best way forward. Among the major contributing factors to this attitude is the knowledge of just how much gaming, through regulation and subsequent revenue and job creation, has brought to society. It was only on attending the Tribal Gaming Seminar at ICE that I was struck by the extent of the crossover between the two sectors.

Both markets have been subject to discrimination, have worked diligently to demonstrate their often-overlooked value, and in most cases are able to demonstrate a positive knock-on effect of the regulation of gambling within their communities.

Despite their hardships, and the effects that the new US administration will likely have on both groups, their attitudes remain unfailingly positive, and the overwhelming message sent out by each seminar was that the Native and Latin American markets are open to international collaboration and will exceed educational, compliance, and safeguarding requirements in order to disprove any prejudice and continue to provide for their societies.

Colombia for example donates one hundred per cent of all its gaming revenue to social welfare. Countries like Argentina and Chile have begun to follow suit, and most Pan-Latin American countries have lotteries dedicated to funding social causes. Thousands of jobs have been created across Native American territories thanks to the opening of casinos and gaming halls, and gaming revenue is continually channelled into social projects.

In the face of so much division it is increasingly important that these parallels are not left unremarked upon, but are brought to the fore. Intercultural dialogue will be a focal point of this year’s Juegos Miami; we will be talking regulation, the public image of gaming, innovation and interregional consensus, with a view to demonstrating the value of legalising gaming both to society and the economy. I hope you will be able to join us.

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