IGA Hosts Mid-Year Membership Meeting at Foxwoods

IGA 2023 Midyear Membership Meeting
National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman Sequoyah Simermeryer (left) joined the IGA Membership meeting to provide regulatory updates. Chairman Stevens (right) joined Simermeryer in the discussions.

MASHANTUCKET, CT – The Indian Gaming Association (IGA) recently 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 hosted an array of active topics and 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. 

“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,” said IGA Chairman Ernie Stevens in his opening address to tribal members. “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.”

In 2022, Indian gaming revenues grossed $43 billion and $5.4 billion in ancillary revenues, bringing the total revenue for 2022 to $48.4 billion. 

“These numbers are affirmation that our industry continues to overcome challenges, whether it be a pandemic or legislative and regulatory hurdles,” said Stevens.

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,” said Stevens. “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, provided 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.

“First and foremost on our minds right now in Indian Country is the looming potential of another government shutdown,” said Giles. “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. 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.”

United States Treasurer Chief Lynn Malerba gave IGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. one of the first one-dollar bills with her signature during the IGA membership meeting.

Federal updates were presented by U.S. Treasurer Chief Lynn Malerba, who presented Chairman Stevens with a one-dollar bill, one of the first with her signature as Treasurer of the United States.

National Indian Gaming Commission Chairman Sequoyah Simermeryer also 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 the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). After review by OMB, the proposed regulation will have either 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 Department of Interior (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 Bureau of Interior Affairs (BIA) will issue a decision within 120 days.

The next Indian Gaming gathering is the 2024 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention, April 8 -11, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA.