developed through this effort. A more recent joint effort with AGA that is underway is the Responsible Gaming Collaborative. This effort will seek to identify effective policies and regulations that have worked to prevent problem gambling and position the industry to champion these programs. As was stated in a recent joint press statement of NIGA and AGA, “We’ve learned through collaboration that serving our members and working together are not mutually exclusive activities – we can, in fact, do both. Collaborating means seeking opportunities to work together when we can and respecting that there are times when we cannot.” Educating the Public about Indian Gaming The November 2016 election ushered in an entirely new Administration with hundreds of new political appointees as well as 52 new House Members and 7 new U.S. Senators. As a result, NIGA increased our education efforts to all policy makers in Washington, D.C. Many of the new administrative officials and new Members of Congress have never been to Indian Country or met with tribal leaders, and they needed the Tribal Sovereignty and Indian Gaming 101 presentation. We will continue to educate the members of the Administration and Congress about the U.S. Constitution that each of them swore an oath to uphold—along with its recognition of Indian tribes as separate, distinct sovereigns in our federalist system. We will inform them of the federal government’s solemn treaty and trust obligations to Indian Country. With regard to Indian gaming, we will remind federal officials that Indian gaming is an act of tribal government self-determination. While IGRA imposed certain federal legal limits on tribal governments, more than 240 Tribal Nations have made the law work to benefit their communities. More must be done to bring parity and respect for the governmental status of Indian tribes, and NIGA will continue to press for our legislative priorities. Finally, NIGA also continues to provide articles each month for publications that educate the general public about our industry and our policy endeavors as well as engage in public forums that provide avenues for educating the public about Tribal Sovereignty, Tribal Government Gaming and the benefits that Tribal Gaming brings to this country, to the States we reside in and to our local community neighbors. At this stage in history it is so vitally important that NIGA, led by our member Tribes, take on the task of educating our folks in Washington, D.C. While this is a challenging time in the nation’s capital we have been there before and we will step up to the challenge. Conclusion With nearly 7,000 attendees, the National Indian Gaming Association celebrated another record breaking year at our 2017 annual Convention and Tradeshow. It was our biggest show ever, and we anticipate exceeding that again this year, here in Las Vegas. As we continue to grow our show, we build on our success and broaden our reach to an even larger audience. Next year, we will be back in San Diego, in the heart of Indian Country where we’ve had so much success in the past. Our segment of the industry is gaining in popularity and growth and the credit for this success goes out to each and every one of our Member Tribal Nations, our Leadership and our phenomenal professionals and experts that make up the Tribal Government Gaming industry. We’re off to a great start in 2018. Working together, we will build on the energy you all bring to this Convention and continue our work with Congress and the Administration to strengthen our Industry and expand the benefits of Indian gaming to all of Indian Country.
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