OIGA 2023: The Evolution and Growth of the Indian Gaming Industry Continues

by Matthew L. Morgan

Chukma (greetings)! On August 14-16, 2023, nearly 3,000 vendors, visitors and guest speakers will join us to celebrate and advance the tribal gaming industry in the great State of Oklahoma, across the nation and around the world. This year, we proudly welcome friends, family and respected colleagues to Tulsa, OK, for the 28th Annual OIGA Conference and Trade Show.

The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Conference and Trade Show will showcase the latest and greatest in gaming technologies and business offerings, including everything from cybersecurity to new and exciting gaming technology. We will transform Tulsa’s Cox Business Center into a hub for our partners in the gaming industry to learn, catch up with one another and form friendships and partnerships that will last for years to come. 

As always, the first event will be the OIGA John Marley Scholarship Golf Tournament, taking place bright and early with registration starting at 7:30 a.m. and a shotgun start at 9:00 a.m. The tournament has become a beloved tradition and raises funds to support scholarships granted to gaming employees furthering their own education or students whose parents or guardians work in Oklahoma’s gaming industry. We are thrilled to announce that this year’s tournament has completely sold out faster than in years past, a testament to the support our industry shows to education. We are proud to have presented 54 scholarships since 2014. Our annual poker and blackjack tournaments will also take place on Monday, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at Tulsa’s historic Cain’s Ballroom, which is also the venue for our kickoff party, which starts at 8:00 p.m. A great night promises to be had by all.

We are also pleased to welcome this year’s keynote speaker, Paul Speirs-Hernandez, President of Steinbeck Communications and Founder of the Red Wagon Institute. Speirs-Hernandez will speak Tuesday morning about the “Power of Can,” a philosophy that refocuses goal setting to empower teams and leadership, from 8:30-9:15 a.m.

After the keynote, we will jump into the rest of the day with a robust schedule of sessions offering something new to learn for everyone in our industry – from new careerists to mid and high-level executives. Session topics will include Global Gaming Women; Branding: Differentiations and Ambassadors; Decisions in the Courts: Seminole Outcome and Impact; and more. We will have shuttles running all day to and from each hotel for the convenience of our guests.

The Indian gaming industry of Oklahoma has so much to celebrate. When we think back to how modern tribal governmental gaming in our state began so many decades ago, it was with simple bingo halls situated in retrofitted buildings. Today, 35 tribal nations in Oklahoma operate more than 130 gaming facilities with approximately 72,850 electronic games that support tens of thousands of jobs for Oklahomans in our state’s rural communities.

When it comes to economic and social impact, Oklahoma tribes work closely every day with the state legislature, executive agencies, counties, cities and towns, nonprofit organizations, hospitals, local school districts and hundreds of other businesses and individuals. The support provided by our industry is directed toward improving the quality of life and economic stability of our Oklahoma communities. We help build healthcare facilities, businesses, roads and other much-needed infrastructure, while also building career opportunities, supporting families, and forging friendships that will last for generations. We are there to help wherever we can, however we can.

Additionally, all compacted tribes make direct payments to the State of Oklahoma to pay for 100% of their monitoring duties in the form of annual oversight fees and monthly revenue sharing payments in the form of exclusivity fees. As required by the compact, the tribal exclusivity fees are earmarked for responsible gaming efforts and education, which benefit all Oklahoma students. Cumulatively, Oklahoma tribes have remitted more than $2.2 billion in exclusivity fees to the state since fiscal year 2006. We are extremely proud of our contributions and look forward to continuing to work with our partners for a bright future for our great state.   

We would like to thank our generous sponsors for allowing us to put on this incredible showcase of the best of the tribal gaming industry. We’d like to especially extend our gratitude to our presenting sponsor, the Chickasaw Nation, for its generous support of our conference.

Matthew L. Morgan is Chairman of the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association. He can be reached by email at [email protected].