Tribal Gaming Takes Center Stage at IGA 2024

The Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention returned to Anaheim last week, gathering tribal leaders, operators and suppliers from across the U.S. to showcase the latest and greatest that Indian gaming has to offer.

Tribal Gaming Takes Center Stage at IGA 2024

Last week, representatives from across the tribal gaming community descended on Anaheim, Calif. for the 2024 Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention to take in a sun-soaked week of panel discussions, networking opportunities and product showcases.

Coming off of back-to-back years of record revenues in 2021 and 2022 with 2023 still in the process of being tallied, the tribal gaming industry is expanding and innovating like never before, and this year’s show touched on all aspects of the business.

Initial attendance estimates came in at approximately 7,400, surpassing the previous Anaheim show from 2022 (6,500) but falling short of last year’s show in San Diego (9,000). The conference will head back to San Diego next year and then Las Vegas in 2026.

Below is a synopsis of some of the week’s top panels as well as insights  from major suppliers around the show floor.

Day 1: All About AI

The festivities kicked off on Monday with an introduction from conference chairman Victor Rocha, who noted that artificial intelligence (AI) was an easy choice for the day’s discussion theme given its growing influence not just in gaming, but in our everyday lives as well.

The first presentation of the day was given by Missy Stanisz, senior director of product management at Everi, who gave an overview of the various ways in which the adoption and implementation of AI might impact and ultimately improve the gaming industry.

Stanisz listed marketing, gaming-floor operations, compliance and the overall guest experience as sectors that could benefit from the improved technology, and listed examples for each.

Citing her marketing background, she highlighted the possibility of being able to give players “the right message with the right offer through the right channel at the right time” with the help of AI, and shared some examples of AI-produced marketing materials that could serve as inspiration and cut down on production times for employees.


Next on the stage was E. Sequoyah Simermeyer, vice president of strategic partnerships at FanDuel and former chairman of the National Indian Gaming Commission, to discuss some of the legal and regulatory considerations that tribal leaders may consider when implementing AI.

Simermeyer noted that policymakers can view the technology as “either a threat to be mitigated or an opportunity to be capitalized on,” but that dynamic will look different for various tribes.

For tribal gaming specifically, he offered several ways that AI may impact the industry, including improved cybersecurity risk mitigation, better due diligence processes for partners, the expansion of relationships into new jurisdictions and more.


Simermeyer was followed by BIG Cyber CEO Amit Sharma, who broke down the ins and outs of data security and privacy for AI-enabled casinos.

Sharma laid out the benefits of utilizing AI for security purposes, such as live fraud analysis, suspicious betting pattern detection and secure payments and transactions. These were then juxtaposed with the potential challenges, namely privacy concerns, compliance issues and bias or discrimination.

Overall, Sharma explained that operators who may be looking to implement AI into their operations should prioritize player privacy along with transparency and ethical processes.

Monday’s sessions ended with an informative and historical presentation from longtime casino technology pioneer John Acres, who posited that current AI technology is immature, akin to “a 13-year-old child” rather than a “superior technology” that will rule over humankind.

Acres highlighted some of the technological advances he’s seen and built in his career since entering the industry as a 19-year-old in 1972, and shared a piece of wisdom he received from industry legend Benny Binion long ago: “People hate to be fooled but they love a chance to fool themselves.”

He shared the quote to illustrate the point that peoples’ urge to gamble is present, but it’s up to the casino operator to find ways to bring that desire to fruition—AI, Acres explained, can supercharge the loyalty process and gain more insight to players’ behavior than ever before. This then leads to more satisfied and more loyal customers.

Additionally, he argued that AI can make the industry more sustainable by understanding players’ average value and recognizing irregular behavior and patterns.

Day 2: Sports Betting, Mobile Gaming and Entertainment

Of all of the panel discussions Tuesday, perhaps the most impactful was the first, which featured a mea culpa from FanDuel CEO Amy Howe regarding the company’s unsuccessful 2022 sports betting legalization push in California that created a lot of animosity between the commercial and tribal sectors.

Alongside California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) Chairman James Siva and Pechanga’s Director of Public Affairs Jacob Mejia, Howe acknowledged that any future legalization efforts in the state would be done “with and through” state tribes, and noted the company’s recent hiring of several tribal experts to better help understand the culture.

For his part, Siva was adamant that tribes “will remain the sole operators” in the state, and issued a not-so-subtle warning to bookmakers to “get out of our way” moving forward. To conclude, both Siva and Mejia applauded Howe’s willingness to engage in such conversations.


Next up was a discussion about mobile Class II gaming with a full roster of speakers that included:

  • Sam Basile, vice president of business development, GeoComply
  • Valerie Spicer, chief gaming officer, Vetnos
  • Richard Sagman, senior vice president of product management, Everi
  • Thomas Castleberry, vice president of sales, Anaxi
  • Jonathan Doubilet, managing director and vice president of operations, US, Playtech

The conversation first centered around the technical and regulatory considerations that go into mobile Class II gaming—Doubilet stressed the challenges of melding aspects of land-based and online gaming into one product while Spicer noted that there may be differences between tribes with regard to limiting geographic boundaries strictly to casinos or expanding them to all tribal lands.

Panelists then talked about the content side, and gave examples from their respective companies on how they were able to successfully integrate land-based content into their mobile offerings. Spicer noted her efforts with Vetnos to bring sports betting into the equation, with the recent launch of the company’s Class II daily fantasy-style app PlaySqor.

Castleberry ended by saying that Class II mobile gaming offers tribes “the ability to build the foundation for (Class III) iGaming,” which will likely be coming at some point in the future.


The next session gave attendees a glimpse into the future of entertainment amenities, as DLR Group’s Thomas Hoskens was joined by CSL International’s Tyler Othen and Suzanne Leckert of Convergence Strategy Group to talk about the plethora of ways tribes can add value to their properties by offering new forms of entertainment.

Leckert touched on both short- and long-term consumer trends, and how tribal gaming and commercial gaming are opposites in terms of gaming and non-gaming revenue breakdowns. Othen gave insight into the various types of patrons that most gaming properties will encounter, and offered 10 examples of entertainment amenities, ranging from music venues to immersive experiences and recreational sport courts.

Hoskens then stressed the importance of “creating pathways” that make sense and generate the best possible ROI, and gave the example of trying to create a property that could satisfy an entire SUV full of people.

The afternoon wrapped up with a conversation about resort design trends from a range of experts, including:

  • JoyceLynn Lagula, associate principal, JCJ Architecture
  • Luke Jumper, vice president and senior project manager, TBE Architects
  • Kevin Fleming, president, Square One
  • Dike Bacon, principal, HBG Design

Lagula first outlined the evolution of design in Las Vegas over the last 10-plus years, including the emergence of food halls as well as the evolution of sportsbooks.

Jumper then discussed the benefits of starting the planning process as early as possible, and gave examples of how tribes may incorporate their culture and heritage into the design process. He noted that tribal properties have “all the ‘wow’ and the bling, but it actually means something.”

To finish, Bacon expounded on the future of artificial intelligence and how data analytics will change the design process by gaining a deeper understanding of guests’ preferences.

Days 3-4: From the Show Floor


AGS showcased two new sister titles for its Railway Riches series on the Spectra 43 Premium cabinet, those being Conductors Cash and Miners Millions. Both games offer hold-and-spin bonus features, Conductors with tickets to collect and Miners with sticks of dynamite.

The company also highlighted the Revel cabinet, a new three-reel mechanical stepper with an old-school organic stepper feel. Two titles were shown on the cabinet, Liberty Diamond and Triple Treasures, which are set to release later this year.

Its Knock Knock Guardians title on the Spectra 43 Core cabinet was also on display, an Egyptian cat-themed perceived persistence game that is available now.


Ainsworth showcased new titles for both Class II and Class III markets, with its Raptor cabinet being a key theme throughout the company’s booth. Officials highlighted the new Rocket Link title, the first Class II/ HHR offering for the Raptor, to be released in June.

Also featured were San Bao Rabbits and San Bao Tigers, the latest iterations of the company’s San Bao series, which are also coming in June. Looking ahead, QuickSpin Electric Pots Super Charged 7s and Rocket Frenzy were two additional games expected to launch at the end of the year.

This year’s booth marked the return of the Ainsworth Live! media zone, a professional broadcast desk offered in partnership with CDC Gaming Reports and Tribal Gaming & Hospitality.


Aristocrat lauded the introduction of Jackpot Carnival Extreme, a new Jackpot Carnival sequel that features both Buffalo and Power of 88 themes. Updates include six more reels and a new golden hammer bonus feature.

Coin Trio Royal was another new sequel debuted at the show, rife with new themes and bonuses. The company’s soon-to-be-released Class II NFL-themed title, Rings of Victory, was popular among attendees.

Overall, the company noted that it has worked and will continue to work to build bespoke Class II titles that are distinct from its traditional Class III portfolio.


Bluberi continued to highlight its Devil’s Lock series by further showcasing Devil’s Lock All-In, the sequel to the breakthrough title from 2022. The title, first shown at G2E last year, officially went live at southern California’s Yaamava’ Casino earlier this month.

The company showcased the game on its premium Beacon Elite cabinet, which features LED dividers on the sides that integrate with the game content.

Overall, Bluberi officials said that increased content streams were a main focus for the show, as the company has added new studios in Reno, Nevada and Austin, Texas.


Fresh off of a massive hardware expansion last year, Everi showcased new titles such as its Evel Kneivel game, a multi-denom, wide-area progressive featured on the Player Classic Reserve cabinet. The game features traditional reels as well as video screens with clips of the high-flying daredevil.

For the Dynasty Sol Sync premium cabinet, Everi featured Smokin’ Hot Stuff Link, a new iteration of the Smokin’ Hot Stuff line that includes cash on reels and the “close enough” feature, where the game’s mascot favorably assists bonuses.


Eclipse showcased the launch of Big Shake 2, a sequel to the original Big Shake title on the Impact 49 cabinet. The game features an arcade-style coin pusher persistence feature and also includes the lovable Jackpot gopher mascot throughout. The company said it expects to launch the game next month.

Also featured was Gem Link Deluxe, complete with a hold-and-spin bonus with diamond, emerald and ruby jackpots. That game, officials said, will deploy in April or May as well.


Attendees flocked to see IGT’s latest multi-level progressive debut, Tiger and Dragon, housed on the PeakCurve49 cabinet. Officials noted that the previous two IGA shows featured the releases of hit titles Prosperity Link and Mystery of the Lamp, and indicated that expectations for Tiger and Dragon were similarly high.

Speaking of Mystery of the Lamp, the Class II version of the game was also shown last week on the PeakCurve 49, having first launched earlier this year. The company’s Whitney Houston-themed series will also expand in June, being launched for the first time on the SkyRise cabinet.

IGT’s Mesa ETG system also made its first appearance at the show, featuring 4K-quality monitors and overhead screens. Even though the system already features the fastest-timed roulette wheel on the market, the company said new upgrades were coming later this year.

Incredible Technologies

Incredible Technologies (IT) displayed its new True Pick Fastball Class II ETG hardware, a bingo-style roulette variant in which 38 numbered balls are shuffled in a center hopper with one being selected at random.

The game debuted in Washington state earlier this year and the company expects to begin additional installs around the U.S in the near future.

On the game side, IT highlighted Stack Up Pays Island Riches, its newest title for the well-performing Prism Element cabinet. The game features a reel expansion up to 10×5 and features a video board up top that shuffles through previous jackpot wins.


ETG specialist Interblock highlighted its Reel Roulette game, a roulette variant in which straight payouts are lowered to 30-1 in order to offer special multipliers on select numbers ranging from 50-1 to 100-1. On certain spins, a gold ball also raises straight payouts to 40-1.

Company officials also noted that its Smart Pit continues to be one of if not the No. 1 focus for the company moving forward, especially as staffing issues and higher-priced traditional tables persist in casinos around the country.

Interblock’s live craps game, debuted last year, will also reportedly see some upgrades later this year, including dice recognition that will greatly improve accuracy and payouts.


Konami’s new offerings included Crazy Stuffed Coins, a variant of the original Stuffed Coins game with a new reel expansion feature. The title is expected to launch this fall, company officials said.

The large-format Dimension 43×3 cabinet was also shown for the first time at the show, representing the latest installment in the company’s Dimension line.

The Synkros management system also continued to be a focal point for Konami, especially the new Progressive Management floorwide progressive software and its new Gift & Go integration feature.

Light & Wonder

Light & Wonder (L&W) showcased a range of products, starting with the Class II debut of its Dragon Train title on the Kascada Dual Screen cabinet. Other Class II debuts included the Huff N’ Even More Puff and Hot Hot Blazing Locks titles.

For hardware, L&W brought out its new Landmark 7000 Transparent stepper cabinet, incorporating a video reel and an iDeck platform.

On the tables side, the company debuted the Double Down Madness blackjack variant, which is not live yet but will soon launch in Nevada and Iowa.

Novomatic Americas

Novomatic Americas unveiled new themes for its Thunder Cash Gold Link line of linked progressives, including Golden Book of Ra, Golden Dolphin’s Pearl, Irish Locks and Irish Grace.

The company also debuted content from its partner Apex Pro’s Clover Link series, such as the new Diamond Link link with themes such as Mighty Emperor. That content was shown on Novomatic’s J-Curve 43 cabinet.

With regard to hardware, the company featured an array of cabinet lines, such as the Diamond X, VIP X and Panthera models, in addition to its ETG and sports betting kiosk offerings.


Zitro’s Fu Pots and Fu Frog sister titles on the Allure Glare cabinet, first shown at last year’s G2E, were a return staple last week, and the company said the triple-pot games have both been well received.

Lun Pan Du, featured on the Altius cabinet, was also a focal point—the game features a wheel-spinning bonus that players can activate with the spin button or by swiping the screen. Officials said it was recently launched at the nearby Pechanga Casino.

Moving forward, the company expects to launch another 12 or so titles by year’s end.