The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has reported that 2008 revenues from the tribal gaming industry have continued to grow, although some venues with later fiscal years may not show the full impact of the economic downturn. Growth was less than in previous years at 2.3% more than in 2007, totalling US$26.7 billion, but the strongest growth was in two regions that include Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.
Commission Chairman Phil Hogen, speaking at the annual conference of the North American Gaming Regulators Association, said, “We know that the economic downturn has impacted casino and bingo hall patrons, and reports from many tribal gaming facilities reflect that. We are often told that while patrons appear to be visiting tribal gaming facilities as often as in the past, they seem to spend less per visit than before the downturn’s onset.”
The NIGC has divided the country into seven regions and a reduction in gaming revenue was found in the regions that include California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Gaming revenues are not distributed equally among the gaming tribes. Facilities with annual revenues of less than US$100 million constitute over 80% of the more than 400 operations, while fewer than 20% of the operations generate about 70% of the US$26.7 billion in revenues.
Hogen concluded, “It’s obvious that tribes continue to provide attractive and high-quality gaming entertainment to the public. I’m convinced that the vigilant regulatory structure which oversees it - from the primary tribal regulators, to the State regulators participating pursuant to tribal-state compacts, as well as our federal oversight agency - contributes to the continued success of the industry and instills needed confidence that gaming is fair and that the tribal assets and revenues are secure.” (E-06.09.09)
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