Insight: Indian gaming breaks the ICE with potential global partners

Insight: Indian gaming breaks the ICE with potential global partners

Monday, January 18, 2016 Totally Gaming
NIGA chairman Ernie Stevens believes that Tribal operators can offer a wealth of expertise

The head of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) believes that the tribal sector is on the verge of “historic” progress as it reaches out to new global markets at ICE Totally Gaming.

Chairman Ernie Stevens believes that Indian gaming is now firmly established at the core of the industry in the US, but thinks that the time is right to take 40 years of experience to new jurisdictions.

A group of Tribal organisations including NIGA last week announced that it intended to use ICE as an opportunity to seek new business opportunities in Europe.

Stevens, who will be one of the key speakers at the US Tribal Gaming seminar at ICE, told that operators from all over the world can benefit from the sector’s diverse areas of expertise.

“The opportunity for NIGA to bring Indian gaming to the international gaming market is an historic moment for Indian country in our quest to become economically self-sufficient,” said Stevens. “We are potential business partners for gaming equipment, products and services, financing opportunities, business development beyond gaming and tourism initiatives.

“More than 200 Tribal governments and thousands of our operators and regulators have worked tirelessly to become and maintain our seat as an industry leader in the US gaming market.

“We look forward to entering the world market, not only in gaming, but in other business ventures that will continue to sustain Tribal governments and communities for generations to come.”

The ICE seminar will give attendees a better understanding of what makes Indian gaming unique, but also how it crosses over into the mainstream industry. Starting with a brief history of Tribal gaming from owner Victor Rocha, the seminar will then feature discussions on a range of topics from sovereignty to iGaming and technology. 

Attendees will get to grips with an industry worth some $28.5bn (€26.2bn) in 2014 – 28 per cent of total US gaming - which has directly generated 300,000 jobs. Gaming is the biggest area of the Indian economy, with 245 Tribal governments operating 445 gaming facilities in 28 US states, and Stevens believes those attending the ICE seminar will find plenty more to be astonished by.

He added: “I think delegates will benefit from learning more about the Indian gaming industry, its history, its unique purpose and the nuances that make Indian gaming a rare business opportunity.

“I also think that attendees will benefit from the chance to develop relationships and network with Tribal gaming operators and Tribal government officials.

“Getting to know potential business partners and the specific details of their business needs will go a long way in forging future lending, professional services or expertise, equipment purchases or construction deals.”  

NIGA hopes that further expansion of its gaming sector can be beneficial to its communities, and hopes that the ICE seminar will give operators a clearer idea of what drives Indian gaming.

“Tribal gaming is working throughout Indian country to bring our communities out of poverty,” he said. “It is rebuilding our nations as viable, economic engines that provide diverse business opportunities for our neighbours - and I believe for our international friends as well.

“It is a great honour to help deliver our message to help the world to see Indian country through the eyes of Indian people. 

“I would like to thank Clarion Events for inviting us to participate in ICE and I look forward to developing new and lasting business relationships that will be mutually beneficial to Indian country and our international business partners.”

* ICE takes place at London's ExCel Centre from February 2-4. For updates on ICE 2016 and to register for tickets, visit: The US Tribal Gaming Seminar takes place on Tuesday, February 2 at the ExCel's South Gallery rooms 9 & 10 from 10.25-16.30

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