As the gaming industry evolves, tribal casinos face unique challenges, particularly with the integration of sports betting as well as the challenges faced by vendors partnering with tribal gaming entities. Our guest, Tonya Mathews, Executive Director of the Peoria Tribal Gaming Commission, joins host Sean Topchi, Director of Business Development at Kinectify, to provide insightful commentary on this subject. They delve into how tribal gaming entities are adapting to these challenges, focusing on compliance and regulatory frameworks. The episode also explores the impact of sports betting legislation on tribal casinos and discusses innovative strategies to overcome vendor-related hurdles.
This in-depth conversation with Mathews offers a rare glimpse into the intricacies of tribal gaming operations and is an essential listen for anyone interested in the evolving landscape of this sector.
[00:00:00] Sean Topchi: Welcome to Kinectify Conversations. My name is Sean Topchi, and I'm the Director of Business Development at Kinectify. Our mission is to share the experience, expertise, and insights from gaming industry leaders that comes from years of navigating the complexities and impact of compliance. In this episode, I'm joined by a special guest.
[00:00:20] Tonya Mathews: My name is Tonya Mathews, and I am the Executive Director of the Peoria Tribal Gaming Commission of the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.
[00:00:27] Sean Topchi: Thanks for joining us today. And remember to like and subscribe to the podcast. You can also learn more anytime at Kinectify.com. That's K I N E C T I F Y dot com. Tonya, I am so excited to have you on. It's good to talk to you again. For those people that aren't familiar with you, give us a little background on yourself, kind of how you got started in the industry and where you are now.
[00:01:12] Tonya Mathews: Okay. Like I said, I'm the Executive Director of the Peoria Tribal Gaming Commission, which happens to be my tribe, the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, and I've been in the gaming industry for 19 years, 17 of those years on the compliance side. I originally started back in 2006 with the tribe on the gaming compliance side, starting literally at the bottom of the totem pole. I started doing licensing first, did employee licensing for a couple of years, then moved to vendor licensing and vendor compliance. Then from there, moved to internal audit, did that for a few years, and then moved to Executive Director. And I've been Executive Director for 11 years now.
[00:01:57] Sean Topchi: Gosh, you really covered the majority of the areas that you can cover within the commission.
[00:02:02] Tonya Mathews: Yep. Yep. That's all of our departments right there. And then I also served on the other side. I served for eight years on the government side. So as an elected official, I served in the capacity of secretary for the business committee for the tribe.
[00:02:17] Sean Topchi: And I've always wondered about that because I've seen multiple folks in tribal gaming who kind of have those dual roles. And that's a lot to balance. But there is some interconnectivity between them. So I'd love for you to describe that experience a little bit.
[00:02:34] Tonya Mathews: It is quite interesting to be on both sides. There are good and there are tough things with that. Obviously being an elected official, you have a different type of weight and responsibility because you're not just about gaming compliance. It's about looking out for your whole tribe, in all areas. That can be a little tough at times, and you really have to separate politics from the business side of it. But if you can do that, it can be great too. Knowing all sides of that and having that makes it an interesting experience. You're able to have the voice and the opinion on the government side that they may not have, as a lot of government and elected officials aren't involved in gaming. So it's nice to have that and be able to have a voice there and be able to have knowledge in that to help with the other committee members. And then on the other side of it, when you're on the compliance side, it kind of helps to know which direction your government is headed and to be able to have those conversations to know what the future is looking like or where they're wanting to go with it. So it's helpful on both sides...
ABOUT TONYA MATHEWS
Tonya Mathews is the Executive Director of the Peoria Tribal Gaming Commission for the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma in Miami, OK – where she calls home. Mathews began her career in the gaming industry back in 2002 – when she started on the Casino side by working as an Off-Track Betting clerk while she attended college. In 2004, Ms. Mathews began working for the Peoria – her own Tribe, in the Environmental Department before transitioning to office of the Gaming Commission in 2006. She originally started in the Licensing Department then transitioned to Vendor Compliance which then transitioned to Internal Audit before accepting her current position in 2013 as the Executive Director. Mathews has served on a multitude of boards and committees whose primary focus is to safeguard the assets of our Tribal Nations – a commitment she takes great pride in. She is also a licensed Professional Judge of combative sports for the States of Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Kinectify is an AML risk management technology company serving gaming operators both in the US and Canada. Our modern AML platform seamlessly integrates all of the organization's data into a single view and workflow empowering gaming companies to efficiently manage risk across their enterprise. In addition, Kinectify's advisory services enhance gaming operators' capacity with industry experts who can design and test programs, meet compliance deadlines, and even provide outsource services for the day-to-day administration of compliance programs.
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