E. Sequoyah Simermeyer, NIGC Chairman

"In 2024, I expect we will continue to see advances in technological aids to expand gaming on Indian lands"

Reading time 3:18 min
Since the end of the pandemic, the Indian gaming industry has been delivering record figures, with a historic Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) of $40.9 billion reported for Fiscal Year 2022. This growth occurred in seven out of eight administrative regions of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), attributed to the effective business practices tribal gaming facilities have been able to deploy.
In an exclusive interview with YogonetE. Sequoyah Simermeyer (Coharie), Chairman of the NIGC, celebrated another key year for Indian gaming, reflecting on the highlights of the 12-month period. He also emphasizes the agency's continued focus on maintaining a collaborative relationship with Tribes, and how Indian gaming operators are keeping up with new developments in technology and consumer preference.
What is your assessment of the closing year, and what do you believe will be the main issues driving the 2024 agenda for Indian gaming? 
Overall, this year has been quite successful for Indian gaming. The Tribes saw historic results with FY22 Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) reaching $40.9B. NIGC reported growth in seven of our eight administrative regions, and gaming facilities executed sound business practices that allowed for record revenue.
As in previous years, the driving factor of the Agency's work continues to be maintaining a collaborative government-to-government relationship with Tribes. The Agency prides itself on this two-way dialogue and key to understanding the unique challenges facing tribal gaming operations and, when possible, applying that feedback to our regulatory policies and how we inform compliance under IGRA.
Do you anticipate the Indian gaming industry will be able to maintain its strong momentum next year?
Tribal gaming continues to remain resilient and strong. In the 35 years since IGRA’s passage, the industry has shown a strong upward trend in revenue. I can’t predict the future, but all indications are that as Tribes continue to explore new and innovative ways to expand their operations, the industry will continue on this trajectory. 
With the ever-changing US gambling industry expanding into new verticals and technologies, which trends do you expect to gain momentum in 2024?  
I see Tribes exploring areas that meet gaming customers’ needs as the profile of the average player changes to prefer advances like digital wallets, mobile gaming and sports betting. NIGC constantly receives feedback and engages in dialogue with leaders across the tribal regulatory community to ensure the Agency promulgates regulations that make sense, don’t stifle innovation in these verticals, and most importantly, comply with IGRA’s provisions.
Do you see technologies such as AI and cashless, and verticals like mobile and sports betting, playing a bigger role for tribal operators in 2024? 
Like other industries, tribal gaming is adapting to and benefiting from the influx of AI in game design, gameplay, monitoring and fraud detection. NIGC is working closely with regulators and vendors to better understand what they are seeing in the field to better determine how NIGC moves forward under IGRA as different types and uses of AI and mobile technologies become more widespread.
Since the pandemic and with the increasing number of Tribes and states compacting for mobile and sports betting, the demand for gaming platforms offering a cashless option will continue to be high. In 2024, I expect we will continue to see advances in technological aids to expand gaming on Indian lands. And we are watching the courts to see where they land on key issues such as how (and where) players can place bets with respect to the Tribe’s Indian lands, through the use of mobile gaming devices.
Where will the NIGC's focus be in 2024 and how will the Commission support the Indian gaming industry and its members in their endeavors? 
Encouraged by another record-breaking revenue year, NIGC is looking forward to continuing to promote economic sustainability in the Indian gaming industry, help to maintain the integrity of Indian gaming operations, and providing effective and efficient preparedness measures when challenges arise. 
The agency will continue to provide Tribes the regulatory tools to build on this success. Last year’s $40.9B GGR was historic, but it was only possible with the hard work on operations and TGRAs, and NIGC’s commitment to supporting their work.
Are there any specific goals the commission is trying to accomplish in 2024 and beyond?
Over the next year, my focus will continue to be understanding how Indian gaming will continue to evolve over time, and what the Agency can provide to gaming Tribes to help them sustain growth and protect the valuable resource tribal gaming represents for many communities. Key to this focus will be identifying opportunities to build upon the NIGC’s substantial commitment in recent years to cyber security.
In addition to existing efforts such as building out the Agency’s IT vulnerability assessments, tech advisory tools, hosting an annual national cyber security conference, collaborations with other jurisdictions and federal partners, and a deep catalog of trainings; the NIGC has the opportunity to build on the consultations conducted with tribal leaders on how a regulatory body can best promote sound cyber security practices.
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