The Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention in San Diego confirms dates

The Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention is expected to have its biggest trade-show floor ever. As confirmed by the organizers, the event will occur at the San Diego Convention Center on March 27-30. Panel discussions will be held on topics such as tribal sovereignty and the potential effects of gaming.

Conference Chairman Victor Rocha expects attendance to be greater than 2022’s event, given that San Diego is a popular venue among attendees. Last year’s event took place in Anaheim and attracted an estimated 6,500. Meanwhile, between 8,000 and 9,000 attended the Las Vegas convention in 2018.This year’s exhibition promises to be bigger than ever, with over 380 exhibitors showcasing the latest innovations, services, and technology. Of these, more than 60 will be new to the event. Featured will be slot machines and table games, hospitality, and facilities services, sports-betting and payment-processing technology, and marketing, security, and surveillance solutions.

The conference gets underway at 1 p.m. on March 27 with four classroom sessions on Class II gaming. The traditional part of the conference, with varied panel discussions, starts the next day. The tradeshow will be held over the final two days. This year’s major themes will be Texas, tribal sovereignty, and legal cases impacting gaming.

Casino gaming in Texas has been simmering for years and appears to be on the cusp of change with a new bill pending in the 2023 legislature. State officials have sent mixed messages about whether they’ll continue to oppose the expansion or accept the inevitable. “Expanded tribal and commercial gambling in Texas will impact all U.S. gaming centers,” Rocha said. “One of the sessions I’m excited about is the loss of market exclusivity,” he added. “It emphasizes what’s possible in Texas. If Texas gets gaming, what will happen to the Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Louisiana tribes that rely on Texas for the drive-in market? The tribes need to be concerned about exclusivity. It’s not just worrying, but focusing on speeding up diversification and investment and understanding that the future isn’t written.”

There will be a session on the erosion of tribal exclusivity in gaming and how it has come under attack with the expansion of sports betting and commercial-casino interest in card rooms and lottery VLTs, featuring Gene Johnson, executive vice president for Victor Strategies, and Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe in Connecticut.

Other panel discussions include mobile gaming, cannabis, responsible gaming, crypto in gaming, 2023 trends, the labor crisis, tribes pursuing commercial ventures, digital payments, regulation, construction, and expansion, combating human trafficking, sports betting, cybersecurity, and slots and table games.

On the first afternoon of the conference, Rocha said they will dive into Class II gaming, which is “perfectly timed” with the announcement earlier this year by the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians that the tribe is pulling out state oversight of its gaming operations. Instead, the tribe will move toward self-government. Under Class II, tribes can offer bingo and non-banked games by dealing with the National Indian Gaming Commission. (Class III includes slots, tables, and electronic games.)

Another discussion at the conference will be about the fully integrated resort experience, either big or small. Registration has officially opened, and it’s available now.