Today’s episode of iGaming Daily, supported by Optimove, is very much a game of two halves.

In the first half, Joe Streeter, Editor of CasinoBeats and SlotBeats, is joined by Kelli Weaver, VP of Relationships – North America at SBC, to recap a record year for tribal gaming operators. After the break, Lucía Mouriño, VP of Relationships – LatAm at SBC, subs in to talk all things Euro 2024 and Copa America

Last month, the National Indian Gaming Commission reported record gross gaming revenue for the previous fiscal year. The federal regulatory agency reported $41.9 billion in gross gaming revenue in FY2023, surpassing 2022’s previous record of $40.9 billion. 

Joe starts the show by asking how significant these results are for Indian gaming operators. 

“It shows that tribes are contenders in the gaming industry,” explained Kelli. “We’re experiencing year-over-year continued growth. We’re an economic powerhouse providing jobs, not just for our own tribal membership but for the surrounding communities.

“It also shows that we’re resilient. From the time that we entered gaming, we had to prove ourselves. And with a number like $41 billion, it shows that we are here and we are definitely a powerhouse in the industry and we’re here to stay.”

Like every part of the sector, tribal gaming operators were forced to adapt following the COVID-19 pandemic as consumer preferences changed amid a greater use of technology.

The pair discuss how the sector has changed to meet these challenges and continue to grow.

Kelli explains that operators have embraced technology as people “expect to be using an app somehow” and to have “technology at their fingertips”.

She also talks about how operators improved their facilities to encourage people to still visit land-based casinos despite the rise of iGaming and online sports betting.

Kelli said: “We still have these amazing facilities that you can go to. You can go in for a spa day, or you can go into a five-star restaurant. I can go in and host an event at a tribal casino We can go in and play Topgolf in a bay. 

“So they really have expanded the entertainment side. You can go see a concert. There are breweries. So really, we expanded upon those amenities as well during COVID to engage people, to the patrons, to continue coming into the casino.”

After a short break, Lucía replaces Kelli and attention turns to football and the ongoing Euro 2024 and Copa America tournaments.

Joe and Lucía start by discussing their nation’s contrasting fortunes. Joe’s England side scraped into the Euro 2024 quarter-finals whereas Lucia’s Argentina went unbeaten in the group stage of Copa America before defeating Ecuador on penalties to reach the semi-final stage.

Lucía is based in the US and Joe asks how Euro 2024 has been received in the country given it is hosting the 2026 Fifa World Cup alongside Canada and Mexico.

Lucía said: “There is a lot of excitement. So they’re really pushing this on like Fox Sports, ESPN, channels that would normally air something different other than football. And like I’ve seen on social media as well, they all say this is the best Euros that [they’ve] watched in a long time.”

Betano is one of the principal partners of this year’s Copa America and the pair talk about the impact of the partnership for the operator across its Latin American markets.

Lucia described the opportunity as “huge” for Betano, not only in Brazil but also across the region given that it has just launched in the province of Buenos aires in Argentina.

Lucia adds that she has been surprised by the total number of sports betting adverts she has seen across the tournament. 

She explains that before the tournament she was told by a member of a football association in South America that they were told to decline deals with gaming companies that were not licensed in the US.

“Now you watch a game and you can see all these betting companies that are huge in LatAm but that have no presence in the US,” said Lucía. “Like it’s crazy in a good way how much it has evolved. And to me, this is probably because of the 2026 World Cup. We all know that FIFA has the rights to sell these sponsorship packages but in order to qualify, you need to meet certain requirements.”

To end the show, Lucía gives her predictions for the finalists across the two tournaments.

For the Copa America, she predicts a clash between her Argentina side with Uruguay, who are resurgent under Marcelo Bielsa, and in Europe, she says that England will meet France

Ep 297: Recapping a record year for tribal gaming