Your 2019 NIGA Recap

A week of collaboration for Indian Gaming decision makers

The 35th Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Expo kicked off Monday, April 1, 2019 at the San Diego Convention Center. Over 7,0000 Tribal Casino executives and casino vendors connected in San Diego to learn, network and exchange ideas to propel our industry forward. The week began with the Chairman’s Golf Tournament on Monday; followed by a warm welcome reception at sunset for all attendees. Tuesday was an intensive day of learning sessions. And Wednesday and Thursday, the trade show floor was open for exhibitors and casino operators to connect and collaborate.

On the golf course

The Raving team and 144 golfers enjoyed a day of golf at Singing Hills Golf at Sycuan Resort. Raving CEO Deana Scott handed out ice cream sandwiches to golfers on the 9th hole. Participating in the tournament was Notah Begay III, a four-time PGA Tour winner and current golf analyst for NBC Sports and The Golf Channel. Notah is also the founder of the NB3 Foundation.

Our April 2019 Solutions Magazine cover model, Paula Allen, enjoyed some “fan-fare” on the golf course. Paula humbly signed covers for fellow golfers who spotted her during the tournament. Did you miss this issue? You can download your free copy here. Checkout an interview with Paula and Dan Stromer on building a sustainable Tribal leadership program on page 21.

A day of learning

Tuesday was a stacked day of learning sessions geared for Tribal casino executives. Learning tracks included Gaming Operations, Marketing, Emerging Gaming, Women in Tribal Gaming, Food and Beverage, and Sports Betting to name a few. Raving was honored to take part in several sessions.

Kicking off the day was Raving Partner Justin Shank leading a discussion on Social Gaming. The session focused on how to offer customers an “online” experience that builds loyalty, gains new customers and drives additional revenue.

Paula Allen, Raving Partner,Leadership & Development, and Enrolled Tribal Citizen of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe leading a discussion on building a pathway to success

Paula Allen, Raving Partner, Leadership & Development, and Enrolled Tribal Citizen of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe leading a discussion on building a pathway to success

Later that morning, Raving’s VP of Operations, Lynette O’Connell and Paula Allen, Raving Tribal Leadership Partner, led separate discussions; Lynette on Data Analytics and Paula on Developing Your Plan for Success. Both Lynette and Paula took a hands-on approach with session attendees. Lynette had participants take a “crawl, walk, run” approach to their SWOT analysis; Paula encouraged attendees to find their purpose, manage stress and develop a plan of action.

In the afternoon, Raving CEO Deana Scott guided a conversation on how mid-sized casinos can thrive when a giant casino is in their competition. A resounding theme was how to take advantage of your “nimbleness” as a smaller casino to offer a personalized experience for players. Later in the day, Raving Partner Dan Stromer and panelists dove into a relating topic – how Tribal casinos with no hotel can leverage rooms to drive play.

Chairman’s Leadership Awards Luncheon


Hundreds of attendees and speakers joined Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. for an honorary luncheon. Among those awarded included San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, Idaho State Rep. Paulette Jordan, and NB3 Foundation founder Notah Begay III. Notah spoke on empowering Native Americans and paving a pathway for success for future generations.

On the floor

Attendees, speakers, and exhibitors enjoyed two days of collaboration and networking on the trade show floor. To “rev up” for the Native Strong Comedy Slam, comedians Larry Omaha, Marc Yaffee and Kermet Apio stopped by Raving ‘s booth. Attendees enjoyed a pre-event “meet and greet” with the talent.

Moderator: Deana Scott, Raving CEO
Panelists: Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D., Senior Raving Partner, Market Research; Steve Neely, General Manager, Rolling Hills Casino; Mark Astone, Strategic Raving Partner, and CEO, Catalyst Marketing Company

Wednesday afternoon, Raving Partner Deb Hilgeman, Ph.D. shared a snapshot of the results of Raving’s third Indian Gaming National Marketing Survey. This segued into a lively discussion on how to interpret this data and apply it to your casino operations. Raving Partner Mark Astone and Rolling Hills Casino General Manager, Steve Neely, shared contrasting views on next steps with this data. Would you like a copy of this report? Email Gency Warren [email protected] to receive your copy.

Laughter for a cause

On Wednesday night, over 170 attendees joined Raving and event sponsors at the 5th annual Native Strong Comedy Slam.  The night benefitting the Notah Begay III Foundation in their mission to ensure Native children achieve their full potential by advancing cultures of Native American community health. Native American comedians Larry Omaha, Marc Yaffee and Kermet Apio shared their talents with Comedy Slam attendees. This event raised over $15,000 for the NB3 Foundation. Special thanks to all sponsors and ticket holders for their support of this cause!

Wrapping up

Over the course of four quick days, Tribal casino operators connected and shared ideas on how to enhance our industry. Not only for today’s decision makers, but for future generations who will steer this endeavor. Raving was honored to be a part. If you would like a copy of our third annual Indian Gaming National Marketing Survey, information on the Native Strong Comedy Slam, or a copy of handouts from any Raving sessions, we are happy to share. Email us Chris Faria [email protected] or Gency Warren [email protected] for further info on anything above. See you next year!

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