October 12, 2018
NIGA presented the Associate Member Lifetime Achievement award to Knute Knudson, Vice President of Business Development and Tribal Relations for IGT. In the photo, Jodi DiLascio, Director of the Tribal Gaming Division at BMM and Russell Witt, Director of Class II Operations and Business Development for Ainsworth GameTechnology join NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., in presenting the Associate Member Lifetime Achievement award to Knute Knudson.
Las Vegas, Nevada – October 09, 2018 – Honoring the outstanding leaders and advocates of the tribal government gaming industry was the theme of the tribal leader’s reception hosted by National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. at the 2018 Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Expo floor on Tuesday, October 09, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This year, NIGA presented the Associate Member Lifetime Achievement award to Knute Knudson, Vice President of Business Development and Tribal Relations for International Gaming Technology (IGT). Knute has set the standard as a champion of the Indian gaming industry. He focuses on business opportunities throughout IGT’s International Regions and IGT’s business footprint in Indian Country through his 24-year gaming career, which includes many VP titles with IGT, and the former Sodak Gaming, which was merged with IGT some years ago.
NIGA Associate Board Members Jodi DiLascio, Director of the Tribal Gaming Division at BMM and Russell Witt, Director of Class II Operations and Business Development for Ainsworth GameTechnology joined Chairman Stevens in presenting the award to Knudson. Stevens said, “Knute works for IGT, and we know what they have done and the role they have played in the industry. Knute is somebody that knows the industry, does his homework, has a giant heart, and will tell us how we roll without hesitation and in a good way. Knute knows the issues in Indian country, and he’s always there to help. That’s what our associate members do, and that’s why they have asuch a significant impact on the National Indian Gaming Association.”
Jodi DiLascio added, “As I stand here and represent the associate membership, I speak for so many of them. We all are better at our jobs, better at understanding the industry because of the years of experience of Knute. Not only did he learn, but he also taught. He has a way of making the industry understand the importance of Indian gaming.”
Accepting the honor, Knudson said, “It’s just a grand day when tribal gaming exceeds revenue wise commercial gaming. We should all be very proud of that accomplishment. We’ve all done it together, particularly the tribes and tribal leaders and the tribal operations.”
Chairman Stevens also recognized National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri, who has continued to lead the NIGC. He has done an amazing job. It hasn’t been without bumps in the road. For the majority of his tenure, we have worked for the betterment of Indian country and our teams have sat down and looked for solutions for the common good the Indian Gaming industry. Chairman Chaudhuri is one of the finest and today we recognize him for his leadership.”
Chaudhuri recognized the NIGC team and said, “Thank you to everybody here. Regardless of what role you play in Indian gaming, the fact that you are here at NIGA’s reception in conjunction with G2E is significant, the fact that Indian gaming by many metrics has eclipsed commercial gaming in its share of the gaming landscape is significant and due to the regulation and innovation of Indian country. It took leadership and warriors for many, many decades to make that possible.”
Recognitions were also given to Mark Powless, Vice Chairman of the Oneida Gaming Commission and a former councilman of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Jerry Danforth, former Chairman of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, Rudolph Wambsgans III, tribal gaming Commissioner at the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana and Jessie Preston, Director Native American Business Development of Morley Moss Inc., Rock & Brews Restaurants, AtmosAir Solutions.
Chairman Stevens also honored four established Native American Women Attorneys who have worked diligently to protect the gaming interests of Indian Country. Those honored included Loretta Tuell, of Tuell Law, Aurene Martin, President at Spirit Rock Consulting, Danielle Her Many Horses, Deputy Director at NIGA and Lisa Koop Gunn,Attorney at The Tulalip Tribes.
Chairman Stevens said, “It is important that we recognize the women who have a warrior role in our industry and who have continued to do anything to support our industry and NIGA. They are some of the best lawyers in America.” Adding, “In Indian Country the Woman have a very important leadership role and as is prominent in our traditions, we seek out their counsel and guidance to bring about a balanced perspective in our decision making. That is another reason why Indian Gaming is the success it is today! We thank our strong Native Women for their contributions to our industry.”
In 2016, NIGA unveiled the Stanley Crooks Tribal Leaders Conference Center, a re-construction project established at the gaming headquarters in Washington, D.C. One of the major mechanisms of financial support has come from tribes and gaming partners, and at the reception at G2E, several donation presentations took place to the Capital building fund. Several contributors presented financial support including, VGT, Klas Robinson and Virtual Bet. These companies and partners of NIGA and Indian Gaming have a long history with us and have shared their on-going knowledge, expertise and resources to the benefit of our industry. We appreciate their efforts to advance our mutual interests.
Chairman Stevens thanks those who contributed, he said, “Without your ongoing financial support to our NIGA building fund, the reality of a beautiful new building in Washington, D.C. would not have happened. These contributors are leading by example I and Treasurer Ebona accept these contributions on behalf of our membership. Our Capitol Hill building belongs to the tribes and our associate members and we are grateful for your support.”