he leading tribal gaming industry gathering returned to Las Vegas as an in-person event after nearly a year and a half, with the 2021 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention ending Friday at the new Caesars Forum Convention Center.
Following the event closure, NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. said that the four-day gaming convention saw "outstanding numbers" on the last day, with almost 8,000 attendees to the overall event. Also, more than 350 vendors were represented, which resulted in $10 million of economic impact for Las Vegas last week.
“We are leaving Las Vegas very energized and excited. To see our tribal gaming family come together again after so long was phenomenal,” Stevens said. “Indian gaming showed up, rolled up our sleeves, and did the work united in our efforts to bring our industry back after the pandemic stopped the world in its tracks.”
NIGA 2021 hosted several events, addressing topics such as sports betting, online gambling, Tribal-State compacting, the cannabis industry, post-pandemic recovery, gaming operations, cybersecurity & domestic terrorism, federal legislative advocacy. It also included the annual membership meeting, workshops, the gaming commissioner certification series, and the Tim Wapato Sovereign Warrior Recognition Luncheon and the trade show exhibits.
One of the main business trends at the event, expected to hit tribal casinos in the coming months was cashless technology. Manufacturers and analysts said the pandemic accelerated casinos’ interest in touchless products, though such technology has existed or been developing for years. Las Vegas-based companies such as International Game Technology and Everi all showcased their different financial technology products at the convention. For instance, IGT announced a partnership with digital casino marker maker Marker Trax on Tuesday at the convention, adding the ability to play the slots with casino credit.
Furthermore, Stevens explained that before the COVID-19 pandemic, the tribal gaming industry generated $35 billion in gross revenue and an additional $6.2 billion in ancillary revenues from hotels, entertainment, restaurants, and retail operations, and ranked 11th in employment in the United States. “Coming off the success of our event this week, I am confident that our industry can and will build back. We regroup and reunite to build upon the success of our Indian gaming industry that has empowered tribal communities,” Stevens said.
Chairman Stevens with Bill Miller, President & CEO, American Gaming Association pic.twitter.com/cHgfx09lt7— National Indian Gaming Association (@IndianGaming85) July 21, 2021
The next gathering will be the National Indian Gaming Association Mid-Year Conference at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California, November 15-17, 2021.