WIGC 2019—Hundreds Attend the Western Indian Gaming Conference

Press Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Jensen
(916) 769-5522

WIGC 2019—Hundreds Attend the Western Indian Gaming Conference

February 5, 2019

Valley Center, CA—More than 400 tribal leaders, regulators, industry professionals and policy experts, have gathered at the 24th annual Western Indian Gaming Conference at Harrah’s Resort Southern California this week for a series of speeches, workshops, and state-of-the-art tradeshow.

The WIGC and trade show has proven to be one of the most informative conferences in Indian Country and features the annual State of the Tribal Nations speech during the General Session that kicks off the conference.

This year, the State of the Tribal Nations Address was divided up and delivered by CNIGA Chairman Steve Stallings, who reported on the state of the tribal government gaming industry in California, CNIGA Vice Chairman James Siva, who reported in tribal charitable and community outreach efforts throughout the state, as well reports on the state of CNIGA and public policy.

Chairman Stallings began and listed several large-scale projects throughout California, including new projects and major expansion of existing facilities, while extolling the major economic benefits for the state of California.

Citing figures from the California Employment Development Department, Stallings said 64,000 Californians are under the direct employ of tribal governments, representing an increase of 2.9% over last year and that “it is estimated that more than 250,000 are now employed, either directly or indirectly, because of tribal government gaming.”

In terms of major issues facing tribal government gaming, Stallings called for tribes to come together to help craft sports wagering policy in California in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a previous prohibition against the practice. He also advised not rushing in considering ways to authorize sports wagering in California.

“Caution should be taken and all aspects of implementing sports wagering, including development of a regulatory framework - that includes enforcement, must be thoroughly developed before California considers legalizing another form of gaming,” said Stallings.

Stallings also called for more effective enforcement from the state against a small groups of card rooms that have been flagrantly violating the law, including running house-banked and percentage card games at their establishments.

“It is in our best interest, and the interest of the state, that the gaming industry, both commercial and governmental be fair and well regulated.  Tribes are proud of our regulatory track record and hope cardrooms will be held to the same standard.”

Vice Chairman James Siva also addressed the general session citing a long list of tribal charitable actions and focused on the extensive measures tribes have taken in the wake of increasingly devastating wildfires that have ravaged California in recent years and many tribal fire departments are involved in fighting fires off reservation.

“Whether it be an every-day call or the unimaginable firestorm, tribal fire departments answer the bell,” said Siva, who went on to say: “Tribes throughout California sent their tribal fire departments to Santa Rosa, Redding and Paradise, all who saw devastating firestorms in their area.”

In addition to the general session, attendees will participate in various seminars and workshops focusing on tribal governmental issues, casino operations and security, regulation, finance, and also a series that, with state bar approval, counts toward the 25 hours of minimum continuing legal education requirements (MCLE) that the state of California requires of attorneys to complete every three years.

The WIGC is being held Tuesday February 5 through Thursday February 7 this year and is held every year in early February.

A transcript of the State of the Tribal Nations address can be obtained on the CNIGA website at:  https://cniga.com/press-releases/

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association is a non-profit association comprised of federally recognized tribal governments dedicated to the protection of tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of tribes to have gaming on Indian lands.

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