NIGA 2018 Annual Report


The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) is a tax exempt corporation under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(6). Although ruled tax exempt, this does not make NIGA a “charity” and thus contributions to the organization are not always deductible by the donor as a charitable contribution for federal Income Tax purposes. NIGA was founded in 1985 and incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1993.

MISSION STATEMENT The mission of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) is to protect and preserve the general welfare of the Tribes striving for self-sufficiency through gaming enterprises in Indian Country. To fulfill its mission, NIGA works with the federal government and Congress to develop sound policies and practices and to provide technical assistance and advocacy on gaming related issues. In addition, NIGA seeks to maintain and protect Indian sovereign governmental authority in Indian Country.



Chairman’s Report


Vice Chairman’s Report


Treasurer’s Report


Secretary’s Report


Executive Director’s Report


Board of Directors 2016


Staff Matrix 2017


Nationwide Impacts of Indian Gaming




T he state of the Indian Gaming Industry is strong and we should all take great pride in the strides we have made together over the past forty years. Not only have we become the nationwide industry leader in growth year over year since the great recession, we now represent the largest segment of the overall gaming industry in the United States. According to Nathan Associates Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report of 2017 Indian Tribal Government Gaming represents 44.3% of the gaming market—while commercial casinos represent 43.3% of the market and racino’s represent 12.4% of the national casino market. There can be no doubt that Tribal Government Gaming has made the most out of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which turns thirty years old on October 18th of this year. Although IGRA was a compromise, the significant benefits that Indian gaming revenues have provided to Native communities and tribal governments over these past thirty years is phenomenal. With that said, NIGA will continue to push for a Seminole fix to restore balance to the Tribal/State compacting process, to ensure that the economic benefits of Tribal Government Gaming go back to our Tribal communities to promote tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments. This is not rhetoric, and I consider my job not done until this task is complete. The White House Transition Plan/115th Congress NIGA has continued our outreach and education efforts with the new Administration, following up on the Transition Plan we submitted in January of 2017 and pursuit of our legislative and regulatory priorities. Through our Winter and Summer Legislative Summits, we’ve also continued to educate key Members of Congress and work with our champions to strengthen tribal sovereignty. We have also continued to strengthen alliances with the national and regional native organizations. Throughout the year, NIGA worked to ensure that the voice of our Member


Tribes are heard voice is at key congressional hearings, listening sessions, and government-to-government consultations. Despite our consistent outreach and education, progress with the new Administration has been slow and frustrating to say the least. Throughout 2017, all of Indian Country united in the push to include Indian Country in national tax reform efforts. NIGA hosted more than a half dozen meetings at our Stanley R. Crooks Tribal Leaders Conference Center to press policy makers to amend the U.S. Tax Code to provide Indian tribes with all the tools, tax incentives and tax credits for economic development that are made available to state and territorial governments. Tribes and tribal organizations nationwide expressed great disappointment in the failure of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to make any progress on this and many other tribal tax priorities. NIGA will continue work on behalf of our Member Tribes and all of Indian Country to break down barriers to economic development in Indian Country and to amend federal laws to acknowledge the constitutional status of Indian tribes as distinct governments. We will raise awareness to the more than $50 billion in unmet needs to rebuild Indian Country’s neglected infrastructure, and for potential legislation to advance economic development and commerce in Indian Country. We will continue to push our legislative agenda and remain optimistic that this administration and congress will stay true to their words that, “Tribal Sovereignty should mean something” and that self-determination unites all Indian Tribes and this administration. We will continue to work with them to ensure our communities continue to make strides that improve the quality of life for our members and our neighbors. NIGA’s Legislative Agenda We continue to advance our legislative and policy agenda with the Administration and the 115th Congress. Items that we continue to educate, advance and promote include: protection of existing rights to conduct gaming under IGRA and opposition to amendments to that Act; passage of the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act; ensuring fairness for Indian tribes as governments in any federal iGaming legislation; reversing the Supreme Court’s attack in Carcieri and restoring tribal homelands; fully implementing the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act; ending Dual Taxation; advancing updates to the Indian Trader Regulations; eliminating the essential governmental function test for bonding and pension plans while working to bring parity in the treatment of Indian tribes as governments for federal tax laws and tax credit programs; and further developing and diversifying tribal economies. NIGA learned early last week that the Senate is scheduling a vote on the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act next week. It is imperative that all Tribes press their Senators for this floor vote. This Act will amend the National Labor Relations Act to restore Tribal Governments as sovereign entities, just as U.S. Territories and possessions (States) and the District of Columbia are recognized. This will provide parity for Tribal Governments and the government revenue generated by them to provide essential programs and services to reservation residents. We have an opportunity to bring this twelve year issue to closure for once and for all. Please take time out of your schedule this week to call, email and contact your Senators to encourage their vote for cloture on S63.


Class II Gaming Subcommittee NIGA’s Class II Gaming Subcommittee has accomplished some outstanding work this year. They were able to track and monitor the National Indian Gaming Commission’s (NIGC) Consultation Process regarding Class II Gaming Systems and other related regulatory issues. The Subcommittee kept our Member Tribes abreast of the issues, provided an analysis of the impacts, and recommended comments, input and participation throughout this year long process. As a result of this work, on December 27, 2017, the NIGC published a final rule eliminating the sunset provision requiring Tribes to remove “non-compliant” Class II gaming systems manufactured before November 10, 2008 (2008 Systems) from the gaming floor. 2008 Systems are now subject to annual review and testing. The NIGC’s issuance of this final rule concludes a multi-year process in a way that ensures the integrity and security of Class II gaming while not disrupting the significant economic benefits Tribes receive from these 2008 Systems. The effective date of the amended regulation is January 26, 2018. The new rule transforms the treatment of 2008 Systems from being treated as an exception to compliant gaming systems, to being treated as an alternative set of gaming system. This new process requires Tribal Gaming Regulatory Agencies (TGRAs) to annually review and assess each 2008 System operating within its jurisdiction for compliance with the minimum technical standards. The new provision requires TGRAs to not only identify specific Class II gaming systems not conforming to these standards, but to also enumerate all components of each system that functionally prevent compliance with NIGC regulations. According to the NIGC, this will aid TGRAs in determining whether the modification will maintain the system’s compliance or advance the system’s compliance with the standards for newer systems. This is a great example of our industry working with Administrative officials to reach solutions that safeguard the integrity of Indian gaming systems and protect both the gaming public and the gaming operation. The NIGC recently announced a new round of consultations on new regulatory issues and our Gaming Sub- Committee will continue to monitor those discussions as well as promote the many benefits that Class II gaming brings to Tribal Government Gaming. Sports Betting Working Group & Emerging Gaming Opportunities Enacted in 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibits tribal and state governments from enacting laws or entering into compacts to legalize sports betting. On December 4, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a challenge to the constitutionality of that law. A decision is expected any day. With the potential to lift the federal ban against sports betting in the United States, NIGA established its Sports Betting Working Group, which has gathered information, researched and identified possible impacts on brick and mortar Indian Gaming operations, as well as other related issues in this critical discussion.


While the average margin of a sports book is 5%, the activity is an amenity that draws an additional customer base that could prove crucial in the current highly competitive gaming environment. To further complicate the issue, Internet sports gaming will likely enter the policy debate, in order to enhance the economic viability of the activity. Internet gaming adds several elements to the debate, including Social iGaming, Internet Skill Dominant Gaming, Mobile Casino Gambling, Internet Casino Gambling, Daily Fantasy Sports, among others. The Indian Gaming regulatory community has also been engaging in discussions to prepare for the potential new evolution of games. NIGA Sports Betting Working Group held four regional meetings to gather input from our membership about sports betting. From the feedback provided throughout this debate, NIGA’s Board of Directors is working to finalize a policy position on federal legislative efforts to amend PASPA. In addition, we must prepare our Member Tribes for several possible outcomes of the Supreme Court case: PASPA is upheld (status quo), overturned as unconstitutional (free for all for states and Tribes), or partial repeal (which could result in a Tribal-only Prohibition). We have the foundation for these discussions in place with the NIGA Internet Gaming Principles, which were established in 2011. These principles are directives from our leadership, and are grounded in NIGA’s overall mission to protect and preserve tribal sovereignty and the respect for Indian tribes as governments. Tribal Government Gaming Expanding Worldwide NIGA has participated in the International Casino Exhibition (ICE) since 2014, educating the world gaming market about the Indian Gaming industry. Having been in the industry for forty years, Indian Gaming is now taking steps to use our expertise in markets beyond the United States. ICE is the largest gaming tradeshow in the world and offers venues for Governmental Representatives, regulators, operators and vendors. Many governmental entities from around the world that are considering offering gaming in their jurisdictions attend the conference in search of potential partners. With this initiative also come opportunities for furthering Tribal Tourism in the United States and abroad. NIGA will continue to forge relationships at ICE and elsewhere to expand economic opportunities for our Member Tribes and all of Indian Country. Domestic and International Trade and Business Development One of the primary goals of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is to promote Tribal economic development and self-sufficiency. While Indian gaming revenues are helping some Tribal Nations improve their economies, more must be done to break down barriers to economic development on Indian lands. NIGA has advocated for needed legislative changes through tax reform, improvements to Indian Country infrastructure, and tribal commerce initiatives. The Department of the Interior conducted a number of Listening Sessions in 2017 to build the case for economic development in Indian Country and gather information to update the Indian Trader Statute and regulations. NIGA will continue to press this Administration to finalize this work. We will also continue to forge these discussions on the international level where we have engaged with the British Parliament to explore potential economic development endeavors, and with the U.S. Embassy in Great Britain, where we had our first discussion this year in collaboration with the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. We will be gathering data, researching and preparing for a follow-up discussion in 2019.


NIGA Associate Members NIGA’s Associate Members have and continue to do an exemplary job in furthering and advancing our goals to develop sound policies and practices for the conduct of gaming on Indian Lands, provide technical assistance for our industry, and generally work to help preserve and protect the integrity of Indian Gaming. Our Associate Members are a vital part of the Indian Gaming industry and we extend our appreciation to all those who have stepped up and assisted in furthering our mission through their participation, offering of their expertise, engaging in the development of emerging gaming opportunities, and contributing through sponsorships. A special thanks goes out to those who have made contributions to offset the NIGA Building Fund/mortgage to help retire our debt to enable us to focus our resources on mission critical policy activities. NIGA strives to enhance the exposure of our Associate Members, providing access and visibility through our annual Tradeshow, our Mid-Year Meeting, bi-annual legislative summits, G2E Indian Gaming Track, Regional Association Events and other opportunities. The influence of our Associate Members continues to flourish in our industry. Whether it is the hard work done at this year’s tradeshow all the way to winter and summer legislative summits and everywhere in between, Associate Members have stepped up to support the Leadership in Indian Country that drives this Association. NIGA Certified Seminar Institute I want to highlight our Seminar Institute, which is led by our Deputy Director, Danielle Her Many Horses, our esteemed partner, Elizabeth Homer of Homer Law and Zion Enterprises, LLC. Of course the Institute would not be the success it is without our partners and professionals from around Indian Country and Indian Gaming that make special appearances for specialized training topics. Our Institute has Levels I, II & III in addition to our Masters Level Training. Trainings are offered every month and we try to reach out to as many regional locations as is possible. NIGA is proud of its ongoing training and certification institute, which works to assist tribal gaming regulators and operators with the technical assistance they need to continue to protect the integrity of Indian Gaming around the country. With the experience and education the participants possess oftentimes they are the teachers as well. Overall the seminar institute combines great professionals with outstanding and experienced students which equal a great learning environment for all. Collaboration with the American Gaming Association I applaud our Board of Directors for your guidance and support in our collaboration with the American Gaming Association (AGA). Our joint efforts have not only brought improvements to the gaming industry overall, they have enhanced our working relationship and understanding of one another’s mission and vision. We worked together to successfully push back against the IRS slot win reporting threshold proposal, increase awareness of the anti-money laundering efforts put forth by FinCEN, raise awareness and education on human trafficking, promote responsible gambling, educate the industry on security threat preparations and the current debate on sports betting, and overall education at G2E and ICE. A new initiative that will be rolled out this week is a joint roundtable for tribal and commercial regulators. The National Tribal Gaming Commissioners/Regulators, the Tribal Gaming Protection Network and the Tribal Alliance will all participate in this event. It is our hope that “best practices” for regulating emerging gaming technology for the entire gaming industry can be outlined and


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.



G reetings and thank you for taking the time to read my report. This will be my first full report since taking the Vice-Chairman’s position last spring after Kevin Leecy, Bois Forte Tribe, stepped down after 12 years. His experience and devotion to NIGA is greatly appreciated and I hope to honor his legacy. Certainly, over the past year NIGA experienced a number of changes as did all of Indian Country. In this era of political change from one party to the next, Indian Country’s greatest strength remains our ability to adapt to any situation and look for new opportunities to exercise our Sovereignty and protect our Tribal Citizens. With new political leadership in Washington D.C., and a new sense of change at the Federal Agencies, NIGA focused on staying in motion on many policy fronts, seeking to avoid going backwards after eight years of hard work with the previous administration. NIGA is moving forward and pursuing new paths for legislative and regulatory policies that will strengthen Tribal Governments and Tribal self-determination. At the top of the list in 2017 and in 2018, is the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (TLSA). Tribal Governments should not rest until we restore our recognition as governments under the National Labor Relations Act. Many in Congress understand that to be sovereign means you must have jurisdiction over your lands without exception. State Governments and U.S. Territories did not accept unionization of their employees under Federal law, and Tribal Governments were granted this same deference for over 80 years until it was taken away by regulatory decisions at the NLRB and unfortunately upheld by some Federal Circuit Courts. NIGA’s outreach on TLSA has been greatly enhanced by our incredible state of the art facility steps away from Capitol Hill. NIGA is now able to reach more Congressional Representatives and Senators than ever before as our new Headquarters has established itself as a unique events location. Both political parties have utilized NIGA’s conference room and we are able to host numerous fundraisers without the exorbitant costs of renting hotel space.


NIGA’s congressional outreach is also focused on the Trump Administration’s infrastructure plan to ensure that it will bring opportunities for Indian Country to improve their transportation systems , repair water systems, expand broad band access, and promote Tribal economic self- sufficiency. To ensure Indian Country continues to march forward on these important initiatives, I urge Tribal Nations to remain united behind our core key principles: protection of tribal sovereignty; and fostering economic activity on the reservation. I want to thank NIGA’s Member Tribal Nations for your support over this past year. I look forward to continue my work with the NIGA Board of Directors, Tribal and Associate Members, and all of Indian Country as we face our challenges in 2018. My message as Vice-Chairman will remain the same, “Stay in motion…Forward Motion.” I hope we can continue to work together and protect Indian Gaming and all Tribal industries for the betterment of our generations to come. “United,” Indian Country can confront any challenge and embrace every opportunity, while always moving forward. For many years the US government made decisions for Indian Tribes, and it was not until the era of Self-Determination that we were able to flourish by making decisions that were best for our own communities. With this Congress, we will have the opportunity to push forward the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act to restore the recognition of tribes as governments to set their own labor laws under the National Labor Relations Act. The infrastructure plan will bring opportunities for Indian Country to improve their transportation systems to foster economic growth, to repair water systems, and to expand energy developments on Indian lands to promote economic self-sufficiency. The Administration, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has begun the consultation process to update the Indian Trader Statutes, which must be amended to prevent dual taxation in Indian Country and will open the door to more development, especially when coupled with the infrastructure plans. To accomplish this, we, as individual nations, must remain united behind key principles: protection of tribal sovereignty and self-determination, and advancing policies that promote economic self-sufficiency. With many new faces in Washington, we have to educate our new Administrative officials, Congresspeople, and Senators on our unique relationship with the US Government and our issues. I want to thank the member tribes for your support over these past years to the NIGA organization, and to me as your Vice Chairman. I look forward to continue working with the NIGA Board of Directors, Tribal and Associate Memberships, and all of you as we face the challenges in the upcoming years and work together to protect and grow Indian Gaming that we have already fostered into a $30 billion industry. If we stand united, we will fight off any threat and embrace every opportunity.



I t is my honor and privilege to provide you with NIGA’s 2017 Financial Report. As Treasurer of the National Indian Gaming Association, my primary duty is to ensure the long-term fiscal health of the Association. Part of fulfilling this duty is conducting the annual audit with Joseph Eve, LLC (now renamed WIPFLi). In March of this year, WIPFLi conducted their audit of NIGA’s 2017 financials and I am pleased to report that NIGA received a “non-qualified” opinion from the auditors. This represents the sixteenth straight year that NIGA’s financial records and statements are in accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), without exceptions. As a long-time NIGA Board Member, the past three Fiscal Years have been some of the toughest we’ve encountered at NIGA. In 2016, we completed construction on the $4.2 million Building Expansion. With a brand new building comes brand new expenses and outlays. I’m pleased to report that NIGA has met these challenges and is in a strong financial position heading in to 2018.

Puyallup Tribe of Indians

$250,000 $250,000

Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians

Mashantucket Pequot Tribe

$25,000 $25,000

San Manuel Band of Mission Indians

Thank you also to VGT (an Aristocrat Company) for its $200,000 pledge over four years. NIGA’s Associate members are an important component of serving our Tribal Members and we hope to see more donations from companies that benefit from Indian Gaming.


As you take time to enjoy our Tradeshow and Conference this year, please be sure to review NIGA’s Annual Report and the 2017 Audit results enclosed with this report. NIGA’s operating capital saw a $1.2 million reversal from 2016 and, for the third straight year, NIGA was able to cut our expenses while we settled into a new operating budget with a fully functioning 14,000 square foot office building. I will continue our hard budget work at NIGA coordinating with the NIGA Finance Committee, the Chairman, Executive Director, and the NIGA Board to meet head-on our new fiscal requirements. As of the date of this report, our Las Vegas Tradeshow is on pace to be the largest in NIGA’s history - so the future is certainly looking bright. I am confident that with Indian Country’s continuing participation at NIGA, we will be well- positioned to see increased growth in our Industry and with our Tribal membership. As Treasurer, I will continue to review and assess how we do business and to strengthen our commitment on behalf of Indian Country. There is always room for improvement in the way we do business and we can always stretch our capabilities with each new challenge and endeavor. As Treasurer, I owe it to our Tribal Membership to not only maintain NIGA’s excellent credit rating, but to ensure the long term fiscal health of the Association. It is an honor to have a role in an organization so valued to not only to my Tlingit & Haida Indian community in Alaska, but to all of Indian country. I look forward to meeting with you in Las Vegas and hearing your suggestions on how to continue to help all Tribal Nations pursue economic self-sufficiency, care for our people, and build a future for the generations to come. I wish you much success in 2018 and look forward to our next meeting.



G reetings to all the Tribal Leaders attending our Tradeshow in Las Vegas this year. It is a privilege to serve you as the Executive Secretary of the National Indian Gaming Association. In 2017, NIGA experienced an interesting year working with a new Administration and Congress. With new faces, there are new challenges, but NIGA’s enduring commitment to Tribal Sovereignty remains steadfast. As a mother and Tribal citizen, I have witnessed the economic hurdles Tribal governments must overcome to address the shortcomings in our tribal educational, health, and administrative agencies. Gaming revenues are a vital source of investing in our communities to strengthen the governmental services provided to our citizens. I am pleased to see that in 2017, Tribal revenues grew another 1.5% and more importantly, the employment numbers in Indian gaming surpassed pre-recession levels of over 700,000 direct jobs created. In more good news, last year, I reported on renewable energy initiatives in Indian Country and how the Indian gaming industry is setting an example in this arena. Many tribal casino expansions now incorporate plans for the use of renewable energy to power their casino operations. Clean energy technology and development is one of the fastest growing sectors in the U.S. and Indian Country is poised to be on the cutting edge of this technology given our locations, the diversity of our economies, and our cultural respect for mother earth. NIGA will continue to provide leadership and discussion on exploring new ways that Tribal Governments can preserve resources and the environment by committing to bring self-sustaining economic development to our reservations. I have long believed that Tribes are connected to this land in a spiritual sense and have a responsibility


to protect and maintain access to our natural environment. Indian Country is a shining example of striking that balance between maintaining a vibrant industry and keeping our environment healthy for the continued use and enjoyment of generations to come. Again, it is my utmost privilege to serve as NIGA’s Executive Secretary and I appreciate the opportunity to represent NIGA’s Member Tribes in this capacity. Serving in this position has exposed me to invaluable knowledge which I am honored to share with all of our leaders throughout Indian Country. I look forward to meeting with you at this year’s Tradeshow.

Hnqwi’yqwi’yilgwes khwe sk’u’lshesh. (In humble service to you all.)



W elcome to Las Vegas as the National Indian Gaming Association holds its first ever Tradeshow and Convention in this iconic gambling city. In 2017, NIGA completed its first full year in our brand new Headquarters on Capitol Hill. NIGA owns one of the most unique properties on in Washington, D.C. with a history befitting the development of this Country and its Indian Policies. Since NIGA opened its doors to local rental opportunities and hosting tribal organizations from throughout Indian Country, we have been forced to research the history of the building as NIGA staff responds to our guests questions about how a non-profit came to own a 220 year old building. Briefly, the newly independent United States Government began construction on the “Watterson House” shortly after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War and it was completed in 1804. NIGA’s building served as the residence for the first Librarian of Congress, Mr. Watterson. During the War of 1812, NIGA’s building was one of the few spared from British destruction as the Commanding General of British ground forces used the Watterson House as his headquarters. As the D.C. expanded over the centuries the Watterson House changed hands several times, but gained a place on the National Register of Historic Places. The Watterson House was all but abandoned when NIGA’s pioneering founders Tim Wapato and Rick Hill impressed upon Tribal Leaders that NIGA needed an enduring presence on Capitol Hill. The three year building expansion is something that I believe Mr. Wapato would be proud to see. I again want to thank his wife, Gay Kingman, for her work in founding NIGA and the support she has engendered for the Association. The building expansion could not have happened without Tribal Leader support and certainly not without the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux’s financial commitment and annual donations to NIGA. I would also like to note that in 2017, NIGA picked up three more major building sponsors with generous gifts from: Puyallup Tribe of Indians Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians VGT (an Aristocrat Company)


These donations are helping to pay down NIGA’s construction mortgage debt and strengthen our operating budget. After a full year of operation, NIGA’s Headquarters are now hitting its stride with strong rental income and the incredible political exposure of hosting fundraisers and conferences so close to Congressional offices. NIGA and its staff are off to what should be a great 2018 both fiscally and administratively. Please stop by NIGA’s offices anytime you are in D.C. Our doors are open for Tribal Leaders to come and relax during busy Hill visits, or just to come by, grab a snack in our kitchen, and visit with myself and the staff. NIGA will soon begin renovations in the basement on what is expected to become a Tribal Leaders Lounge meant for all of Indian Country to come and use NIGA’s offices while advocating on important Tribal issues. As we begin 2018, there is a lot of legislative and regulatory work ahead with regards to Tribal labor laws, gaming regulation, and protecting our Tribal Governments from severe federal budget cuts. I am proud to serve NIGA in a role that helps to bring Indian Country’s voice to policy positions formulated in cooperation with all of our incredible Tribal organizations. Working with my peers in D.C. at NCAI, NACA, NIHB, NIEA, NAFOA, and others is a humbling experience. Each organization brings a unique viewpoint to the table, but not once has anyone ever lost focus on protecting Tribal Sovereignty and working to enhance Tribal self-determination. With that, I submit to you NIGA’s 2017 Year in Review. 2017 Year in Review NIGA and Indian Country successfully moved the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act (TLSA) through the House of Representatives, the third year in a row House leadership has voted to restore tribal sovereignty over on reservation labor issues. Once again Indian Country owes a special “thank you” to Congressman Todd Rokita (R-IN), and of course our leaders from both sides of the aisle that took a strong stand in support of Tribal Governments. A special thank you to Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK), Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) and Congressman Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM). Unfortunately, the TLSA again faces an uncertain future in the Senate. Indian Country has a true friend in Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) who picked up where former Senator Brownback left off, in standing up for what is right in Indian Country. Senator Moran’s impassioned work on the TLSA has left a positive mark with his Party’s leadership in the Senate. Indian Country is again calling on our friends from both sides of the aisle, including ranking member Senator Udall on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, to make the necessary changes to the National Labor Relations Act and protect tribal sovereignty and restore tribal government jurisdiction over their labor issues. The Future of Indian Gaming The Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (Nos. 16-476, 16-477) stands to potentially break a new policy barrier in gaming. It will have profound implications for not only sports betting in the United States, but it stands to reason there will be renewed pushes by lotteries and states to expand internet gaming. Currently only three states have legalized internet wagering.


An expansion of gaming on this scope will certainly impact tribal casinos and the carefully crafted tribal-state compacts across the country. We are already witnessing many States take anticipatory legislative steps in the expectation that the Court will hold PASPA unconstitutional. Whatever the Supreme Court’s outcome, and there are a myriad of possibilities, at worst Tribes and States would simply be in the same position as before the Christie case, while at best, Tribes and States would have the regulatory authority that Congress, through PASPA, had taken away from them. Certainly, there are a number of important issues that would remain unsettled under IGRA. Does sports betting constitute a class II or class III gaming activity under IGRA? IGRA allows tribes to engage in the same forms of gaming permitted under state law, but the scope and form of gambling becomes less clear from game to game. For example, how much of a difference is there between daily fantasy sports and individual game sports betting? Most importantly, states and tribes that have negotiated exclusivity provisions in existing compacts will need to resolve potential gray areas created by a newly authorized form of gambling. At NIGA, we are always concerned about the jurisdictional claims of State lottery officials who continue to explore expanding their operations into Internet and now sports gambling. Since a bumpy start several years ago, New Jersey, Delaware, and Nevada have reported increasing and stable internet gaming revenues as their customers become more comfortable with the platform. For NIGA and our Member Tribes, these potential new forms of gaming begin and end with their impact on tribal sovereignty. This principle has framed the Internet gaming debate in Indian Country from day one, however, not all the commercial gaming, federal, and state stakeholders consider the impacts of new gambling laws on Tribal Government’s interests. Indian Gaming Economic Impact Please take a moment to review the enclosed 2017 Economic Report. Indian gaming has surpassed the pre- recession direct employment of over 700,000 direct jobs. Indian Country has done a tremendous job preserving thousands of American jobs as the Country made a slow climb back from the Great Recession. Indian Gaming’s resource base helped prevent the layoffs of teachers, health care workers, fire fighters, police officers, and many other local government employees that provide essential services to children, elders, and others in the community. With the 2018 elections in front of us, we will have new faces in Congress yet again. NIGA will be there to help educate a new round of legislators about the numerous treaties, laws, and court decisions that protect tribal sovereignty. The NIGA staff and I look forward to proudly displaying how far Indian Gaming has come and the positive contributions it makes to this Country. We will continue these important policy discussions and keep Indian Country and tribal leaders informed of all the policy and social questions surrounding legalization of Internet gaming.


NIGA Trainings and Seminars In 2016, I reported that NIGA had again expanded its trainings and seminars for all tribal gaming commissioners and regulators. Despite this increase, demand has continued to run strong from our gaming commissions and NIGA will again be increasing the number of Commissioner Trainings and Masters Level Trainings across the country. NIGA’s trainings are continually evolving to meet the needs of our Tribal Governments and their gaming divisions. The tribal regulator’s role as the primary enforcement mechanism for our industry is one of our key messaging points. Participating in NIGA’s trainings and seminars will provide another tool for your gaming commissions to provide the most up to date regulatory methods available and report on current information. Please visit our website for a full list of Trainings coming to a venue close to your Tribe. National Indian Gaming Commission NIGA is also closely monitoring the NIGC and their aggressive 2018 Tribal Consultation Schedule. The Tribal Consultation Sessions will address, among other things, Class III MICS; technical standards for mobile gaming devices; and changes to management letters and audits. Please join us this year at our speaking sessions for a complete discussion with the NIGC and their goals for Indian gaming regulation. Indian Gaming is a central part of many state and local economies and the data indicates our industry is playing a strong role in the recovery in those areas. As you can see from our Economic Impact Report, Tribal properties are generating several billion dollars in capital costs, operations and maintenance, security and surveillance, goods and services, etc. Tribes’ remaining revenue is reinvested into the tribal government to help pay for education, health care, police and fire protection, housing, water and sewer service, transportation, government infrastructure and community development. Tribal Governments, like most governments, exist to provide a better standard of living of their citizens. We know that our NIGA Member Tribes are committed to rebuilding their Indian communities and creating sustainable economic models on the reservation. Indian Gaming revenues play a vital role in this endeavor and together, we will continue to share our economic development stories with America. Once Indian Country’s full story is told, all citizens will realize that the growth of Indian Gaming is truly another great American success story.



ALASKA DELEGATE Vacant EASTERN DELEGATE ROBERT MCGHEE Poarch Band of Creek Indians Alternates: MICHAEL CONNERS St. Regis Mohawk WILLIAM CANELLA Seneca Nation of Indians EDDIE TULLIS Poarch Band of Creek Indians EASTERN OKLAHOMA DELEGATE MATTHEW MORGAN Chickasaw Nation Alternate: RANNY MCWATTERS Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma GREAT PLAINS DELEGATE RANDY PHELAN Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation Alternates: WILLIAM “SHORTY” BREWER Oglala Sioux Tribe JAMIE AZURE Turtle Mountian Band of Chippewa Indians


CHAIRMAN ERNEST L. STEVENS, JR. Oneida Nation of Wisconsin




GARY SANTOS Tule River Tribe ROSEMARY MORILLLO Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians





Jason Giles Executive Director Muscogee (Creek)

JENNI WILDCAT Northern Arapho Tribes

KURT BLUEDOG Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

Alternates: TIM DAVIS

Danielle Her Many Horses Deputy Executive Director/General Counsel Oglala Lakota Debbie Thundercloud

Blackfeet Nation CLINT WAGON Eastern Shoshone Tribe

JOEL FRANK Seminole Tribe of Florida


Chief of Staff Oneida Nation

STEPHEN LEWIS, GOVERNOR Gila River Indian Community

Angelica Molina Business Manager Navajo (Dine’) Maria Ferguson Office Manager Chelsea Blake Legislative Associate

ASSOCIATE MEMBER DELEGATE (Non-Voting) JODI DILASCIO Director Tribal Gaming Division BMM Testlabs RUSSELL WITT Director of Operations & Business Development - Class II Ainsworth Game Technology

SOUTHWEST DELEGATE STUART PAISANO LT. GOVERNOR Pueblo of Sandia Alternate: IDAK FIERRO Pueblo of Pojoaque WESTERN DELEGATE JANE RUSSELL-WINIECKI CHAIRWOMAN Yavapai Apache Nation Alternates: VERLON JOSE Tohono O’Odham Nation COLLEEN FADEN White Mountain Apache Tribe DELBERT RAY, PRESIDENT Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community

Vanessa Little Executive Assistant Bois Forte Mary-Charlotte Grayson Tradeshow Coordinator Cherokee Nation Mimi Hoang Receptionist



FY 2017


Contents Economic Impact Summary

25 25 26 27

Background Introduction




Areas of Employment Gains Payroll and Related Taxes

Federal and State Government Taxes Government Taxes Paid 2013 to 2017 MULTIPLIER AND TOTAL IMPACT NAICS Sector Impacts Indian Gaming Wages Indian Gaming Operating Expenses Indian Gaming Regulation Indian Gaming Capital

Indian Gaming Transfer Payments Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Indian Gaming Overall Economic Output Economic Impact State Summaries KEY FINDINGS OF STATE SUMMARIES Ranked Industries by Output United States Private Employers Dupris Consulting Group, LLC


45 46 47


Economic Impact Summary The following section presents a summary of the findings and conclusions from the study entitled, “The Nationwide Impacts of Indian Gaming,” An Economic Analysis Study for 2017, conducted and authored by Dupris Consulting Group, LLC. on behalf of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA). DIRECT AND MULTIPLIER IMPACT • In 2017, the Indian Gaming Industry has generated significant economic activity which had an overall economic output of $81,664,286,406. This represents an economic output of $22,179,371,807 on the reservation, where all Tribal casinos are located and an economic output of $59,484,914,599 off the reservation. • The Indian Gaming Industry, in 2017 directly transferred $13,101,386,610 to their Tribal owners for governmental program spending and investments, helping to meet gaps in federal funding for Indian programs. Since government spending is largely wages and employee benefits, the majority of that spending stays in the region. • Indian Gaming Operations and Ancillary Facilities supported 307,762 ongoing jobs in 2017 of which 75% or held my non-tribal citizens. • Total employment gains from the Indian Gaming Industry’s economic impact activities totaled 745,052 jobs. Of this total, 41.3% or 307,762 were direct jobs, and 58.7% or 437,290 representing indirect jobs. • Wages paid to employees of the Indian Gaming Industry amounted to $9,077,985,197 and employment resulting from Indian Gaming workers spending their disposable incomes, operations

purchasing activities and capital expansion projects generated another $13,639,162,420 in wages. In summary, Indian Gaming was responsible for generating $32,406,083,724 in direct and indirect wages throughout Indian Country, the States their casinos are in, and the United States. • The fiscal impacts to State and Federal Governments have been very strong. When including taxes paid and payments reduced, the Indian Gaming Industry has had a positive impact on governments in the amount of $16,909,424,812. Background Nationwide Indian Gaming continues to contribute tax revenues, purchasing power, expansion development and jobs throughout the United States where Indian casinos operate. It has become a powerful catalyst for many American Indian Nations, allowing tribes an opportunity for bringing significant economic growth and jobs into their communities, which was almost non-existent prior to the Supreme Court’s 1987 decision in the California v. Cabazon case, as well as the passage of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988. Furthermore, as was the intention of the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, Indian Gaming has saved federal, state and local taxpayers and governments from being required to fund of billions of dollars for unemployment and other income or food subsidies, for direct aid to tribal entities, and for education. This can be directly quantified in one monetary calculation as Indian Gaming’s 482 properties, in 2017, directly transferred $13.1 billion to Tribal governments for program spending and investments. In 2017, there were 250 Tribal Governments operating 482 gaming facilities with over 24.5 million square feet of gaming space in 28 states.


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