NIGA’s 28th Annual Tradeshow and Convention Kicks Off with Golf, Speeches and Awards
By Gale Courey Toensing
The National Indian Gaming Association’s (NIGA) annual event takes place this year in the “Valley of the Sun”—Phoenix, Arizona—at the Phoenix Convention Center from March 24-28. Every day is packed with general membership meetings, regional caucuses, special presentations, training sessions, workshops, cultural events, luncheons, receptions and more. This year's event attracted more than 5,000 attendees from 10 countries.
Sunday’s golf tournaments took place at the Yavapai Nation’s Fort McDowell Resort and Casino, which has two championship 18-hole golf courses with a 10,000-square-foot desert-themed clubhouse. Proceeds from the charitable tournaments will benefit the Spirit of Sovereignty Foundation, an entity founded by the National Indian Gaming Association to reward the educational goals of exceptional Native-American students since 2000.
The Chairman’s Welcome Reception took place at Gila River Indian Community’s Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino and featured a blast from the past music of Creedence Clearwater Revisited. "This is going to be one of the most exciting Tradeshow weeks we've had in quite some time. So many of our tribal leaders and Native-business leaders are here with us, along with our many Indian gaming professionals," Chairman Ernie Stevens said in his opening remarks. "We're looking forward to all of our events like our membership meeting, the culture night, and our casino department roundtables and certifications. Of course we will have another fantastic tradeshow offering the best in technology and talent."
By Bob McClay
They are checking out thousands of new slot machines with video technology that you may soon see at the casino.
"Right now we have a lot of Mega Jackpot products," said Knute Knudson of the International Game Technology Corporation. "We have video products. We have Mega Jackpot products that you enter into a game through a core product and go into a bonus feature in a high level mega jackpot product."
Some of the new games include "Phantom of the Opera," that includes a chair that vibrates while you're spinning to win. There are also Dolly Parton slot machines where you can choose her songs from a "jukebox," and she'll sing and give you pointers as you're playing the game."
For more on NIGA, see Quapaw Tribe Wins NIGA Award and NIGA 2012 (Day 2).