Indian Gaming No Longer an ‘N Word’

The Indian Gaming 2022 tradeshow held las week in Anaheim, California, was also the rebranding of the National Indian Gaming Association. The conference and tradeshow was declared a success when almost 7,000 attended, according to IGA Chairman Ernie Stevens Jr. (l.).

Indian Gaming No Longer an ‘N Word’

Although the Indian Gaming tradeshow was held in July 2021 in Las Vegas and achieved a hithe attendance than the 2022 version, held last week in Anaheim, California, most attendees agreed that this was the better and more dynamic show. The July edition was held when the country was still in the midst of the pandemic, with restrictions that were required during that period. Last week only proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test—provided onsite at attendees’ expense—was required.

Indian Gaming 2022 was more relaxed and celebratory with most attendees simply glad to be back in person and seeing colleagues they haven’t seen in three years in some cases. With nearly 7,000 attendees, it was the third most attended Indian Gaming convention, bested only by last year’s show and the 2018 edition, both held in Las Vegas.

As usual, Indian Gaming 2022 showcased the breadth and depth of tribal government gaming in its many iterations. A conference program that focused on sports betting, iGaming, hospitality, human resources and several other topics was also well attended, but it was no longer produced by the National Indian Gaming Association because NIGA had rebranded to simply the Indian Gaming Association.

“This has been in the works for a long time. In the old days, people put together this amazing organization and will live on with a lot of energy. The acronym just was not comfortable in the world we live in,” Ernie Stevens, Jr., chairman of IGA told Native News Online. “People may misinterpret or even mispronounce our old acronym. We view it as a housekeeping item we wanted to clear up. We have never mispronounced our old acronym, but we wanted to clear it up.”

Stevens said the name change had been approved last year but only announced at the show after all legal issues were considered and resolved involving the name change.

Indian Gaming 2023 is scheduled for March 27-30 in San Diego.

Eclipse Gaming Featured Artwork from Native Artist

Eclipse Gaming, a provider of high-performing casino games for tribal gaming markets, featured innovative, colorful and inspirational fine art from renowned Native American contemporary artist John Balloue at its booth last week at the Indian Gaming Trade Show, known as NIGA.

Balloue is an Oklahoma Cherokee registered tribal member, Vietnam veteran, artist and illustrator. He appeared at Eclipse’s booth to greet visitors and sign a limited number of prints of “Balloue Bison,” one of his most popular works. In addition to giving out prints, Eclipse raffled off a framed and signed John Balloue print, randomly selecting the winner from tribal operators who visited its booth.

Eclipse Chief Business Officer Brennen Lawrence said the company was “thrilled” to feature Balloue’s award-winning fine art at NIGA, and said it reflected “our commitment to tribal gaming and the rich heritage of indigenous people. As part of our Going Beyond the Game initiatives, we partner with tribal gaming operators to provide slot cabinets and games that entertain, engage, and generate revenue for tribal communities, and we can’t think of a better way to honor our mission than showcasing tribal artwork in our booth.”

Balloue said, “I’m honored to have my art featured in Eclipse Gaming’s NIGA booth for tribal gaming casino operators and partners to enjoy. I’m dedicated to keeping alive and honoring my native ancestors, and I appreciate Eclipse’s commitment to helping me do that by bringing my colorful works alive in large-format graphics at a tradeshow dedicated to helping tribal people thrive.”

Balloue has won numerous awards for his art. He has been named the Indian Arts and Crafts Association’s “Artist of the Year” and received the Santa Fe Indian Market “Best of Show” designation for his poster art. He has provided cover artist for Southwest Art Magazine, has been listed in Who’s Who in the West, and received a Gene Autry Museum “Best of Class” award. Balloue has also exhibited his work at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, and numerous other museums and shows across the U.S.

AGS Showcased New Rakin’ Bacon Feature

AGS has unveiled a new player-selectable multi-denomination game play feature for its high performing Rakin’ Bacon Deluxe slot theme on the Orion Curve Premium cabinet, as well as Bonus Spin Xtreme table game progressive side bet. Both were featured in the AGS booth last week at the Indian Gaming Trade Show.

Mark Dedeaux, senior vice president and general manager of slots for AGS, says: “This year, we’re focused on diversifying our portfolio by entering new game categories like high-denom reels with our Mega Diamond title, as well as innovating on traditional gameplay to enhance the player experience. The introduction of multi-denom functionality on our Rakin’ Bacon Deluxe premium game package has the potential to further amplify the performance on this already high-performing product.

“Additionally, we’re showing a mix of proven winners like Captain Riches and Lucky O’Reilly, plus new titles like Ultimate Rise and Mighty Power, which truly highlight the AGS spirit. The AGS portfolio is stronger and more diverse than it’s ever been, as we continue to heat up casino floors with strong themes and vibrant graphics that players love.”

The AGS table games team continues to look for ways to allow operators to earn a little extra bacon of their own, supported by the launch of the award-winning Bonus Spin Xtreme progressive side bet. The feature links all games across the entire casino floor to a single shared jackpot, upping the ante with massive potential prizes. The Bonus Spin Xtreme compatible library is ever-growing; player-favorite games like roulette and baccarat will be available at the AGS booth to try out this innovative progressive feature firsthand.

John Hemberger, senior vice president and general manager of table products for AGS, said, “We’re always rethinking what is possible with table game jackpots and community-style play. Bonus Spin Xtreme fires up player engagement by linking all tables on the floor to a single jackpot pool, creating a bigger and faster-growing jackpot. It’s the only progressive side bet on the market to provide one unique progressive jackpot winner for community-style table games like roulette, baccarat and craps.”

He said NIGA was “the perfect place to showcase this innovative progressive system, in addition to our new single-deck PAX S card shuffler on our commission-free Dragon Dai Bacc game.”

Marker Trax Demoed Mobile App Integration

Marker Trax demonstrated its capability to fully integrate with mobile applications as part of a “digital wallet” at NIGA, the Indian Gaming Trade Show & Convention, last week in Anaheim, California.

Before appearing at NIGA as part of Acres Manufacturing Company’s newest mobile application, Marker Trax’ innovative cashless casino marker system was available at several casinos, including Ellis Island Casino, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur and Emerald Island Casino in Las Vegas; Grand Sierra Resort in Reno; and Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa in California, among others.

Marker Trax is a vital component of Acres’ Orange Blast mobile app, a mobile wallet outfitted with Marker Trax. Through the app, players can use Marker Trax to transfer digital marker credit to slot machines throughout the gaming floor.

“We’re well on our way to accomplishing our goal of fully integrating our cashless marker system with industry leaders around the country, and NIGA is an incredible opportunity to show that integration in action,” said Gary Ellis, Marker Trax founder and CEO. “Through collaborations with incredible partners like Acres who share our vision, we’re creating a gaming experience that benefits both players and operators. Customers love the convenience of the Marker Trax cashless system, and operators appreciate better player tracking and brand loyalty growth mechanisms afforded by the platform.”

Acres’ new Orange Blast app is the frame around which the demonstrations take place. “Our app combines the entire player experience into a single user interface,” Noah Acres said. The app manages players’ experiences by allowing them to easily transfer cash, free play and Marker Trax credit, while also tracking and generating player loyalty bonuses.

Marker Trax’ technology is powering cashless, seamless advances in player programs at resorts in Nevada, tribal properties and nationwide, while the company is further strengthening its partnerships with industry leaders including Aristocrat Gaming, IGT, Konami Gaming and Light & Wonder.

The product is the first of its kind to offer regulatory-compliant casino marker technology that takes inefficiency out of issuing advances and provides casinos with the tools to manage their casino credit underwriting and repayments.

Following its appearance with Acres at NIGA, Marker Trax officials said they will continue advancing a number of other projects and innovations, including wider rollouts to more resorts and companies in Las Vegas and around the country. “The future of gaming truly is cashless,” Ellis said, “and we’re thrilled to be a driving force in this movement.”