NIGA 2022: Tribal Gaming & How it Connects to Affiliate Marketing

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From April 19th to the 22nd, the gambling world descended upon Anaheim in the United States for the 2022 NIGA Tradeshow & Convention. During the conference, there were a variety of panels, meetings and insights, all relating to the evolving world of tribal gaming.Income Access was delighted to attend the event, where our VP of Operations, Geoffrey Smorong, spoke at a panel on ‘The Value of Affiliates in the Online Gaming Ecosystem’. The session provided insights into how affiliates affect the US iGaming world and how tribes can begin to develop partnerships with these affiliate companies.

With that in mind, we’ve put together this piece to look at how tribal gaming operators can benefit from affiliate marketing, using our industry leading expertise along with insights gained from the NIGA conference, along with the status of tribal gaming today.

NIGA Panel Breakdown

The panel for ‘The Value of Affiliates in the Online Gaming Ecosystem’ had a variety of experts involved to provide their insights. Joining our VP of Operations, Geoffrey Smorong, was Lloyd Mathiesen, Chicken Ranch Tribe of Me-Wuk Indians, Max Bischel, Vice President at Group, and moderator Steve Ruddock of

Some of the topics from the session were on the general role affiliates play, the structure of affiliate deals with operators and the pros/cons to working with affiliates. There was plenty of interest from the tribal gaming community as they look to begin to invest in affiliate marketing.

One of the key examples provided during the panel was discussing the similarities between single state lotteries and tribal gaming operators. Both are restricted by geo locations, as they function in a smaller market than an operator who can operate across a variety of geos. Single state lotteries, like Virginia Lottery or Pennsylvania Lottery, have adopted affiliate marketing successfully, using it to find tailored and valuable customers.

Single state lotteries provide an interesting example to tribal operators on the added reach that affiliate marketing can provide them, despite the fact they’re locked into one area.

Affiliate Marketing Benefits for Tribal Operators

For tribal gaming operators, affiliate marketing can provide value through its ability to precisely market, allowing them to target the right users.

It’s a low-risk partnership for tribal gaming operators, as it is performance-based and they’ll share the profits with affiliates depending on the traffic driven to their platforms.

It’s truly a long-term strategy that will provide access to multiple sources of traffic and valuable users.


The affiliates can be seen as a type of brand ambassador for the brands they promote, giving operators access to acquire new customers through the ambassador’s channels. There are a variety of deal structures agreed to by operators and affiliates, ranging from a cost per acquisition amount to revenue share. Different verticals and geos have preferred versions for these deals, but they all align to be a cost-effective route for operators, as they improve their reach without having to spend the crazy amounts being spent in other marketing verticals for iGaming.

Tribal Gaming’s Recent Success

Tribal gaming has been an important part of the North American gaming world as it has expanded over the last few decades and it continues to play a major role. For example, as iGaming brands pop up across the country, the Seminole Tribe decided to take their own steps, launching the Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile app. The app, branded after their popular Hard Rock property, is now live in Iowa, New Jersey, Arizona and Virginia. Reviews have been positive for the app, praising its user-friendliness and simple withdrawal system.

Another exciting piece of news from the world of tribal gaming came when the San Manuel Band of Missions Indians had their plan to purchase a Las Vegas Gaming resort approved late last year, making them the first tribal operation to own a gaming resort in a city that’s synonymous with gambling. They purchased the Palms Casino Resort, which they recently reopened to tremendous excitement.

Key Takeaways

Tribal Gaming has long played an important role in the North American gaming landscape and continues to do that today. Tribal operators can look to take the next step by partnering with affiliates who can help them reach the users they need to continue growing in the space. Affiliate marketing provides an efficient and proven method to attract new users while remaining cost effective, so this strategy can provide a leg up for operators in a competitive landscape.


If you’d like to find out how you can use affiliate marketing to take your business to the next level, reach out to our team today!

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