Indian Country joins the United Kingdom furthering economic diversification beyond gaming discussions

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February 5, 2018

London, U.K. – February 5th, 2018 – The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) kicked off the first day of the International Casino Exhibition (ICE) front and center. After a morning discussion on the economic impacts of gaming, the afternoon was spent at the United Kingdom Parliament in discussions regarding economic diversification beyond gaming with a closing reception in honor of the government to government exchange and networking to strengthen opportunities for international business development.

The World Regulatory Briefing began with a panel moderated by Michael Polluck, Managing Director of the Spectrum Gaming Group. The panel titled, “Big Discussion: What is the Economic Impact of Gaming?” discussed the positive impacts that gaming brings to Tribal Communities, States, and the European Union. Panelists included NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., Ohio State Senator William Coley II, (R-4th Dist.) and Paul Hersfeld of Hersfeld Consulting. The panel not only covered the hard-economic impacts of gaming, but also the human capital impacts of gaming. Chairman Stevens said, “Indian gaming continues to run head to head with commercial gaming, and in some cases, according to a report by Nathan & Associates, Indian gaming is out in front by a small percentage.”

Baroness of Winterbourne Emma Nicholson once again hosted a contingent of Tribal Leaders in the British Parliament to explore opportunities for Tribal Nations expanding their Business Portfolios to the international market on a government to government basis. She was joined by the Bishop of Derby Rt. Rev., Alastair Redfern who presided over the summit. Dr. Leigh Gardner, from the Department of Economic History, London School of Economics and Political Science kicked off the session with an overview of the progress of Tribal Governments in furthering their economies since the onset of Gaming. Dr. Gardner is a long time professional providing gaming research dating back to her early years working with Dr. Kate Spilde, at the National Indian Gaming Association. Gardner was followed by four of the United Kingdom’s leading experts in some of the mainstream areas of business and trade including, Chris Frost, Finance and Professional Services, Mick Jargy, Documentary Films, Ashley, Creative Industry and Dr. Theodore Zeldin, Professor.

Chris James, President & CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development summed up the conversation with an overview of “economic clustering” and challenging the nature in which business is conducted with Indian County. At the close of the summit, a panel of Tribal Leaders shared opportunities for business development within their Tribal Communities and Chairman Stevens concluded with recommendations and action steps to be taken through the course of the coming months.

The final event of the day was a networking reception to further the government to government relationships and to build upon the momentum of the event. Chairman Stevens presented Baroness Nicholson a letter of historical analysis based on relations between “the Crown” and Tribal Nations. In return, the Baroness explained that the British archives are the largest in the world and with those resources continued analysis would take place in preparation for future discussions. A short presentation also followed on the Amar Foundation and its work in rebuilding and improving lives of indigenous peoples in Iraq.

In its third year, the International Tribal Business Summit was yet another fruitful and historic government to government meeting and exchange advancing economic development with and beyond gaming. Chairman Stevens said, “Indian Country was always been an important component of commerce and trade both internationally and domestically. Today we are taking our seat back at that table to develop our Tribal economies for the long-term future. We owe the honor of this opportunity to the many Tribal Leaders in Indian Country that prepared this path for us today, to allow us to move Indian Country forward for those generations coming behind us.”