Cybersecurity, cashless gaming, and mobile wallets are among the topics at the 23rd TribalNet Conference that runs Sept. 12-15 in Reno.
The conference at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino is hosted by TribalHub, an organization that brings tribes and resources together. TribalNet attracts information-technology experts in tribal gaming and non-gaming operations, but staff up and down the line attend, given that technology touches every facet and decision that tribes make.
Shannon Bouschor, director of operations for TribalHub, said the trade-show floor is sold out, with as many as 140 booths. About 500 people are expected to attend, which would be the second highest turnout ever, just below TribalNet’s 550 attendees in Nashville in 2019. There are no virtual options, unlike last November’s conference in Dallas when about 350 attended.
“We’re seeing a lot of organizations send more than one person,” Bouschor said. “We’re focused on technology, but not just for the IT department. Technology plays a role in every position at a tribe – casinos, health centers, and government.”
There will be about 30 breakout educational sessions and several networking events during the conference, with some 75 speakers participating in six tracks, including one on tribal gaming technology, which has five sessions over three days. Other tracks deal with leadership, health-information management, and general and tribal-government technology.
“This year, we’ve been talking about it being not just a conference, but an experience,” Bouschor said. “That has been our theme all year long. It’s not just going to sessions and hitting up the trade show, but making a lot of connections and creating long-lasting relationships. It’s a community and a network.”
Conference speakers range from industry experts and vendors to chief information officers. The gaming audience primarily attends the gaming, security, and leadership tracks.
The tribal-gaming-technology track kicks off Monday Sept. 12 and highlights the diversity in usage for location services, which can restrict mobile gaming to specific geographic regions.
One of Tuesdays two gaming-related sessions deals with preparing for cashless gaming by overcoming hurdles in its implementation. Later in the day, experts from Salesforce and Google discuss how customer-focused organizations can learn more about their guests and provide personalized experiences to drive customer loyalty.
“The panel will discuss how casinos have historically looked at their guests and what they can learn from forward-thinking companies outside of the casino/hospitality industry,” Bouschor said.
On Wednesday, the first casino session covering mobile wallets will be led by Landon Stansfield, director of product management fintech at Everi.
The second session on Wednesday deals with slot data. It talks about the challenge of adding third-party integrations and additional analytical functions to these systems. It will go into how the slot-data systems have long been one of the most expensive and difficult to maintain systems in any casino. The session delves into where the industry is heading and what’s new in slot-data capabilities. It even covers cybersecurity and securing data in a growing threat landscape.
Cybersecurity, a big element of the conference, will be covered in the general-technology sessions.
Nine sessions on information security will include a three-hour workshop on the final day of the conference on Thursday. Other sessions will cover lessons from ransomware, cyber audits, best practices, and cyber defense.
Tribes have been dealing with hackers stealing customer information and holding it hostage for payment. Hackers have even prompted some tribal casinos to shutter temporarily.
“Every year, information security is moving more and more to the forefront for a lot of people,” Bouschor said. “There are lessons to be learned from ransomware, IT audit best practices, and what they want to see differently with third-party agreements moving forward. Multi-factor authentication will definitely be a hot topic and ties into the cyber-insurance world. It’s a big range of topics-with something for everyone.”
For more information and to register, visit the website.