Why Casinos Will Use Tribute Bands More In 2021

January 9, 2021

Home » Why Casinos Will Use Tribute Bands More In 2021

Survey results from 118 casinos and 27 anonymous talent buyers are below:

  1. Over 88% of tribal casinos admit they did not know they were overcharged for entertainers
  2. 72% of tribal casinos use a third party talent buyer
  3. 95% of tribes confess they made more money on tribute entertainment vs national acts 
  4. 12% of talent buyers studied admit to overcharging tribal casinos 
  5. 7% Of talent buyers admit to being involved in one or more back door deals with the tribal council, agents, or casino executives

I have worked with countless council members, casino staff, and entertainment professionals over the years. Throughout the pandemic, I have been afforded additional time to connect with even more of these talented professionals. Over the last 12 months, I have spoken with more than one tribe that has been taken advantage of. Sadly it isn’t always an outside force or entity labeled as the guilty party. Some talent buyers (which I will not name) have even admitted to paying off council members on the backside of their entertainment deals. This is what many entertainment professionals call skimming or a back door deal. 

Sometimes a backdoor deal also includes the artist’s agent as well. Meaning, the final total being paid to the agency isn’t always being split proportionately with the artists. Rather, the agent, talent buyer, and/or council member are splitting the difference somewhere along the line. Usually, backdoor deals are done with a larger national touring musician versus a local or national tribute band that is less expensive. 


BRETT MICHAELS – Sells $15,000 – $22,500 in tickets (on a good day in the right market)

A fair market price for his show in a comparable venue outside of Indian Country would be in the neighborhood of $25,000 – $30,000. In my personal casino experience, I have been quoted around $40,000 with some wiggle room for negotiations in a 1,000 seat casino venue. Alarmingly, prior to my involvement at one particular casino property, historical data revealed that a previous talent buyer used the tribe’s money to pay $80,000 for a Brett Michaels Performance. 

Something tells me the upcharge helped pay for the new TESLA I saw him driving shortly thereafter.

Ultimately, tribal casino concert venues are among the newest in the industry. This means seasoned con-artists and beguiling industry veterans are well prepared to take advantage in the short-term without being noticed, at first. Luckily, native entrepreneurs and tribal representatives like myself are at the forefront of innovation and change within the casino-entertainment industry. 

For more information about the lack of transparency in casino entertainment or to request access to celebrity pricing for over 1,900 common artists and casino specific entertainers contact: [email protected]

Booking with SEG will give you confidence because we provide a balanced approach when building entertainment programs. This is done by offsetting the overall risk by hiring the right tribute bands that are affordable, profitable, and transparent with their pricing.

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