April 29, 2019 Tribal, Conference

NIGA 2019: What you need to know


This year's NIGA is set to be the biggest show yet, and here are all the key details
San Diego is known for its beaches, parks and warm climate. For those who work in the gambling industry, they can enjoy all of this, as well as the Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention, which opens its doors on 1 April.

There’s nothing to be fooled about however, as this prestigious event enters its 35th year, becoming one of the most recognizable annual meetings for the Indian gaming industry.

Tribal gaming has always been and continues to be a key part of the casino gaming industry. It is now worth over $32bn to the US gaming industry in 28 states, according to the American Gaming Association, and many of which include resort destination casinos.

As a result of its growth, tribal gaming is still one of the least understood segments within the gaming industry. There are few, if any, better places than this year’s NIGA to learn all you need to know about tribal gaming.

This unique event provides you with the opportunity to grow your brand, meet with the industry’s biggest names and also hear from gaming experts across four action-packed days. The Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention has everything you need to point you and your business in the right direction.

Last year’s show was held in Las Vegas, and this year, more than 6,000 tribal leaders and gaming professionals will be in attendance, making it the largest event to date.

Over 300 businesses will exhibit in California, including: Scientific Games, Aristocrat Technologies, Interblock Gaming, Konami Gaming and Incredible Technologies. A total of 27 new exhibitors have signed up and will be in San Diego.

Ernie L. Stevens Junior, NIGA’s Chairman and National Spokesperson, said: “After a very successful event in Las Vegas, we are excited to continue the momentum and bring Indian county back to San Diego for the 2019 tradeshow and convention.

“This year’s event will have even more networking, education, new products and services. We thank the California tribal nations for hosting us in their great state.”

Brands and businesses alike will have the opportunity to put themselves in front of those involved within the Indian and commercial gaming industries, build contacts, broaden its customer base and celebrate the success and culture of the Indian community.

The venue

San Diego’s Convention Center will host the four-day event, which is known for its panoramic views of San Diego Bay and five-star service. Situated within a mile of more than 10,000 first-class hotel rooms and less than ten minutes from the airport, the Convention Centre is easy to travel to and from.

Not only should your commute be hassle free, but you should be within walking distance from restaurants, retail stores and world-class entertainment. San Diego’s Trolley, the town’s public transport system, also makes it easy to get from A to B throughout your stay.

A survey conducted from last year’s show in Las Vegas revealed 95% of attendees would recommend the show to colleagues, who travel far and wide to attend the annual event. As many as 80% said networking was top of their priorities, while 58% wanted to see the unveiling of new products.

There are numerous events going on throughout the week and if you are happy to dip into your pocket, the chairman’s golf tournament tees off on 1 April at $3,000 entry per team at Sycuan Resort, followed by a charity slot tournament with a $1,000 entry free. The winner of the slot tournament will have the opportunity to donate up to $12,000 towards scholarships at tribal colleges or programmes. Second place will be able to donate $8,000, while third can donate $4,000.

If you want to steer away from the competitive edge, the fifth annual Native Strong Comedy Slam can be enjoyed at the Hard Rock Hotel, which will feature three Native American comics who will also be available to meet and greet. An open bar is also an option, if you really want to kick back and enjoy the show.

Before all of this unravels, the 2019 Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention opens with a healthy fitness activity at 7am. A “One Mile Walk For Wellness” will begin around San Diego’s Marina and all who can are encouraged to get involved with the walk, with commemorative t-shirts being dished out to the first 50 early birds.

The opening day closes with the chairman’s welcome reception at the San Diego Convention Center, which will feature special presentations and entertainment for all registered attendees. An evening of cocktails, dancing and celebration follows, which could be the perfect opportunity to network and interact with fellow exhibitors.


Away from the social activities of the convention, there are over 90 training sessions and conferences which may well appeal to you and your business. There will be an abundance of opportunities to connect face-to-face with: Tribal leaders and council members, Indian gaming commissioners, executives, managers and many more.

These conferences will offer relevant, informative and valuable advice to help give your company the tools and resources to thrive within the industry. Feature sessions will be on operations, sports betting and women in gaming.

Some of the highlights from the first two days focus on: Tackling IT challenges, VIP customer retention, emerging gaming, including social gaming, enterprise development topics, tribal litigation and numerous talks held by experts to help develop a deep understanding of Indian gaming.

Gary Green, host of TV series “Casino Rescue,” will be discussing “how to make a brand truly great” on the final day. Within the session, the three main areas he will cover will be: Operating efficiencies, customer profiles and marketing systems.

This year’s program will also offer professional advice on the needs, demands and issues of small to medium size casinos. Experts will look at the best perspectives, strategies and tactics to potentially help solve these issues.

Conference Chair, Victor Rocha of Victor Strategies and Pechanga.net, said: “This year’s program provides a great range of topics and is designed to give every member of an operation new skills and strategies to take back to their casino to improve profitability and address changing legislation and trends.

“We thank each of our speakers for dedicating their time and expertise to join us in San Diego.”
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