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Off the back of some undeniably positive results for the Tribal Gaming Sector, the National Indian Gaming Commission revealed a tenacious spell for the sector. 

It detailed the record annual gross gaming revenue numbers for Tribal Gaming, declaring $41.9bn for the fiscal year 2023.

FY2023’s figure of $41.9bn is a 2.4 per cent increase on the previous year’s $40.9bn, which was also a new high at the time. Figures come from the audited financial statements of 527 gaming operations from 245 tribes across 29 US states.

Off the back of this, we spoke to Kelli Weaver, SBC’s VP of Relationships for North America, who described the results as ‘massive’ for the sector. 

She added: “It shows the tribes are contenders in the gaming industry. We’re experiencing year over year continued growth.

“We’re an economic powerhouse providing jobs, not just for our own tribal membership, but for the surrounding communities, as well as infrastructure, community services, policing services, roadways, things that we’re doing off of our own lands and out into the community. And it also shows that we’re resilient. 

“From the time that we entered gaming, we had to prove ourselves. And with a number, you know, like $41bn, it shows that we are here and we are definitely a powerhouse in the industry and we’re here to stay. So I’m pretty excited about that.”

She also added that tribes forming their own focused gaming commissions enabled them to be more meticulous in their approach to contracts, tech and the software they are embracing – generally strengthening their connection to the operation side of the industry.  

Weaver added that the pandemic led to the increased embracing of innovation and tech from the Tribal Gaming sector. “Everything has become technology based,” she stated after praising tribes for evolving with the times. 

“We really had to review that and make sure that we were doing it in a safe way. You look at cybersecurity and things that have emerged from the pandemic. You know, we’re on to the next phase, past the digital phase in technology. 

“Now we’re looking at how we protect the data, you know, and I think we just continue. We’re not going to see the end of it. You know, it’s just going to continue to advance. And I think it helps us grow. I think that’s what people expect when they do anything, they expect to be using an app somehow and to have technology at their fingertips.”

Weaver also singled out Michigan as a market that has got things right when it comes to frameworks for ensuring Tribal Gaming can continue to thrive.