Upper Midwest tribes discuss sports betting collaboration at Minnesota conference Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports · May 15, 2019 at 4:12 pm As sports betting proliferates across the country during the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing that to happen, tribes from the upper Midwest this week will discuss the potential of collaboration in the endeavor. It’s one of the topics on the agenda during the Midwest Tribal Technology Council regional event Thursday and Friday at Mystic Lake Casino in Minnesota. The MTTC which is made up of tribes from Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota, is hosting the event in partnership with TribalHub. The theme of the conference is “Innovation and Collaboration,” with a goal to explore ways that tribes could work together to achieve better results, according to Mike Day, founder and CEO of TribalNet, the organization that brings tribes together. Some 36 tribes representing 72 casinos across the three states will be represented at the conference that will feature round-table sessions and networking with the emphasis on strategic planning and problem solving on a regional basis. “We’re posing the question: ‘Can tribes come together to form a better model, within their gaming, government and health operations” Day said. Day said TribalNet, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of its national tradeshow and conference Nov. 11-14 in Nashville, said joining forces with MTTC allows for regional events with tribes for those who can’t always attend the national conference. The MTTC is part of an effort to work together to share solutions with each other where they aren’t competing. That includes technology and other collaboration where possible, Day said. “It’s still going to be an event that is regional in nature where there is a period of several hours to discuss items as a group,” Day said. “The whole point is for us to say there are plenty of opportunities if you work together on certain projects it will be less expensive and get greater results. The idea is not to get stuck in the weeds of lawyers about risks but just talk about the idea to see if it’s worth the effort.” Sports betting will be one of those as it continues to be a hot topic with tribes talking to their councils and sending out proposals to set up their own books in the future once it’s legalized in their states, Day said. Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota are in the process of doing that, Day said. Sports betting has proliferated since the U.S. Supreme Court a year ago this week struck down a federal ban on single-gaming sports wagers. “We’re just going to discuss what if we all get together in a region and decide to create a larger sports book,” Day said. “Is that a better opportunity? We can facilitate that conversation with think perhaps working together costs less, means less risk and more revenue for everyone at the end of the day by having a far superior product to take larger bets or whatever that happens to be.” During a keynote address in April at the National Indian Gaming Association conference in San Diego, Vic Salerno, a veteran sportsbook operator, said he expects the number of tribal sportsbooks to quadruple by the end of the year and called on tribes to come together nationally to lessen the risk of sports bets. Day said he expects the conversation to center on both tribes coming together in their respective states to lessen risk and coming together on a regional basis to do so. The federal Wire Act prohibits sports wagering between states. Day said they will discuss the concepts without being impeded by what can or can’t be done today. “What about creating some sort of fantasy sports across state lines in addition to every type of sports bet,” Day said. “Nobody is having that conversation, because it’s hard and take works. Nobody wants to go there but tribes are in position because all of the rules haven’t been defined. In a lot of respects they’re defining them.” The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians started offering sports betting last summer after it struck a deal with International Game Technology and opened a sports book at the Pearl River Resorts’ Golden Moon Hotel & Casino. Salerno operates a sports book on behalf of the Pueblo Santa Ana near Albuquerque, New Mexico, which opened in October. Las Vegas-based Gaughan Gaming, in conjunction with the South Point in Las Vegas, operates a sportsbook at the Buffalo Thunder Casino near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The conference will also talk about security, Day said. Casinos already share blacklist information but there’s a need to share information like cyberattacks for example. It makes no sense if one tribe gets hit and three weeks later another gets hit because they didn’t know about it, Day said.