Land-Based Ernest L. Stevens, Jr.

National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA)

525 Pear St SEOlympia, WA 98501, USA

The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), established in 1985, is an NPO of 184 Indian Nations representing organizations, tribes and businesses engaged in tribal gaming enterprises from around the US.

The common purpose of NIGA is to advance the lives of Indian peoples economically, socially and politically. In this way, the organization is unlike most gaming companies or corporations culture and heritage is extremely important to them.
NIGA has a hand in educational, legislative and public policy resource distribution for tribes. It influences policymakers and the public on Indian gaming issues and tribal community development.

The organization made history by locating its headquarters in Washington DC: the first structure to be owned by Native Americans in the nation’s capital.

In 1988, it made huge progress for tribal gaming by helping pass the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act which established a judicial framework for governing Indian gaming and protecting reservations.

The chairman Ernest L. Stevens, Jr. was one of six recipients of the ‘Path Breaker’ award, bestowed to those who have a critical and positive impact on tribal gaming.

The Act established three classes of gaming with a different regulatory scheme for each. Class I gaming is defined as traditional Indian gaming and social gaming for minimal prizes. Tribal governments have regulatory authority over Class I games.

NIGA also ensured that Indian Nations were able to create premium Class II gaming establishments. They offer games that fall under the class II definition such as bingo, pull tabs, punch boards and so on.

NIGA remains relevant in its activities in modern times. In 2018 Ernest L. Stevens, Jr and Andy Ebona attended the tribal business summit in Britain in the House of Lords in the presence of the Baroness of Winterbourne. Here they brought Native American business concerns to the global limelight.

NIGA hosted the 2021 Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention from July 19-22 at the new Caesars Forum in Las Vegas. It partnered with the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) for this event; once again progressing Native American social causes.

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