TribalNet goes virtual for two-day event in November Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports · September 29, 2020 at 8:27 pm TribalNet will host its 21st annual conference and trade show as part of a virtual two-day format Nov. 10-11. The conference, originally scheduled on those dates to take place in Dallas, will return there in 2021 for the in-person conference that focuses on tribal technology, leadership and gaming. “We tried to wait like anyone else, not knowing when this would provide some relief and allow people to meet in person again,” said Mike Day, founder and CEO of TribalNet. “There’s no way, through the end of this year and the beginning of next year, to do large shows in person. TribalNet is still on the same days, but it’s only going to be two days instead of four.” Day said the learning sessions over the two days will be broken down into the following categories: leadership and management; general technology; information security; tribal gaming and hospitality technology; tribal government technology; and tribal health information management. The conference topics were selected to show what tribes are dealing with today as a result of the pandemic shutdown and subsequent reopening and how to be prepared if problems resurface, Day said. “A lot of tribes are still facing COVID-19 and technology keeps changing. Tribes are dealing with a remote work force and trying to stay in touch with their customers and do that remotely,” Day said. “A lot of technology, whether it’s mobile or remote access to systems, was new and brought about a lot of challenges for tribes as it did for other businesses.” On the gaming front, the sessions will deal with sports betting, in-room and hospitality technology, meeting guests expectations with technology, online gaming and cashless gaming. Upon reopening casinos, tribes have been dealing with regulations on social distancing, temperature checks and touchless and cashless technology “that they were implementing on the fly,” Day said. The conference will focus on what’s new and what’s changed, what was learned and what will stay, he said. “I think what we see is a lot of things that were immovable hurdles — online gaming and cashless — that got softened quickly in a pandemic that put an entire industry at risk to not have these solutions,” Day said. “We’re seeing a faster move to online and digital that allow people to game and casinos to serve their customers even if they can’t be at the brick-and-mortar properties.” Among the gaming learning sessions, Day said sports betting continues to be a hot topic with many jurisdictions considering expanding it since the 2018 Supreme Court decision that legalized sports wagering nationwide. “We’re trying to help our tribes by sharing lessons learned, best practices and what version of a sportsbook is going to work for their organization,” Day said. The conference works for every time zone with a starting time of 11 a.m. Eastern for five one-hour learning sessions that end at 4 p.m. Eastern and are available on replay for 30 days. The trade show and networking go beyond those timelines. Day said it’s impossible to translate an in-person event to virtual. “But you’re still trying to give people the same feeling for networking in addition to learning, because there’s no lunch to sit down with people.” “We’re trying to create some spaces and events to make that happen. Our organization is known for innovation and technology. We plan to have some unique things with social events.” Participants will be able to go online to a keynote address, exhibit hall where they meet and talk with exhibitors and gather information and get questions answered, “Although it’s virtual, it will have the look and feel of what an actual conference looks like,” Day said. “We want to allow people to interact and network and talk to whoever is speaking and other attendees.” Day said there’s pent-up demand from technology and solution providers to reach tribes that has been difficult during the pandemic. In-person events draw more than 1,000, and Day said he hopes that can be exceeded in a virtual event. The conference is free for TribalHub members. Early registration for non-members is $99. For more information and to register go to https://www.tribalnetconference.com/details/conference-agenda/.