The Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) announced it will be hosting its conference and trade show on August 9-11, at the Cox Business Convention Center in Tulsa. The event is expected to draw nearly 3,000 tribal representatives, vendors and visitors to one of the largest Indian gaming markets in the United States.
The expo will begin Tuesday, August 9, with the annual John Marley Golf Tournament, an event that raises scholarship funds for people working in the gaming industry and their dependents. OIGA established the John Marley Scholarship in 2008 to provide educational opportunities for OIGA member employees and their families.
Conference sessions begin Wednesday at 9:30 am, and continue until noon, when attendees and vendors will celebrate the official opening of the trade show floor. From noon to 4 pm, the floor will be open to attendees. New this year, the welcome party will transform into a “stay and play” reception on the trade show floor, from 4:00-6:30 pm.
Conference sessions will cover a wide range of industry-related issues, including: National Landscape on Sports Betting: Bills, Stakeholders and the Outcome; SCOTUS and District Court Decisions: Impact to Indian Country; Oklahoma Tribal Economic Impact Report Review; Diversity and Inclusion in STEAM Career Development; and Active Shooter: Preparations Saves Live.
Matthew L. Morgan, a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation who serves as chair of the OIGA, said: “Tribes are wonderful community partners in Oklahoma. We create jobs, build roads and hospitals, invest in our public schools and universities, support nonprofits and create programs to serve citizens, Tribal and non-Tribal, who need assistance within our communities.”
“Each year, when we gather at our Conference and Trade Show, we celebrate this industry which has allowed us to do so much. We are proud of our past, excited about things happening right now, and determined to leave the next generation an industry and an Oklahoma that they can take pride in," Morgan concluded.
Tribes in Oklahoma operate more than 130 gaming facilities, according to data released by the National Indian Gaming Commission in August 2021, surpassing any other state or region in the nation. According to OIGA, tribes in Oklahoma offer more than 80,000 electronic gaming machines at their facilities.
The state's tribes continue to expand their footprint and impact on the region's economy, as Oklahoma’s Choctaw Nation has recently broken ground on Choctaw Landing - Hochatown, its new entertainment and resort development in the state, with an opening targeted for late 2023.
The four-story, 200,000 square-foot project, set to cost $165 million to construct, will feature 100 hotel rooms, 600 slot machines, eight table games, and several restaurants and bars. It will also include a pool, an outdoor venue with an amphitheater, a beer garden and a family-friendly game zone.
However, not all gambling activities thrive in Oklahoma. Sports betting supporters in the state have recently failed in their plans to legalize the vertical at tribal casinos. State Rep. Ken Luttrell, who authored the House bill, said there wasn’t “any appetite” for the proposal in the state Senate this year, and attributed the lack of action to “moral issues," while discarding it had anything to do with the Governor’s ongoing feud with tribal leaders.