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Tribal gaming operators set new revenue record in 2018


Gaming businesses owned by Native American tribes have reported a 4.1% year-on-year increase in gross gaming revenue, to a record $33.72bn, in 2018.

Figures from the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) combine 501 independently-audited financial statements, provided by 241 federally recognised tribes across 29 states to provide figures for the entire US tribal gaming market.

These reveal that the Sacramento region, comprising California and northern Nevada, was the largest regional contributor. It alone accounted for $9.28bn of total GGR (up 3.1% from 2017), from 73 facilities. This growth came despite one venue closing during the year.

Rapid City (North and South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming) was the only other region to see tribal gaming venues shuttered in 2018, with the total number of active facilities falling from 39 to 36.

The fastest-growing area, meanwhile, was the Portland region, consisting of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington state. Its 55 facilities generated revenue of $3.66bn in 2018, up 8.2% year-on-year. The Oklahoma City region (western Oklahoma and Texas) followed with a 7.2% increase in revenue to $2.48bn.

However, the per-venue revenue was highest in Washington DC, where $7.53bn was generated from 38 venues.

Of the 501 tribal gaming facilities that provided financial statements to the NIGC, 102 took less than $3m in revenue, with a further 91 earning GGR between $3m and $10m, and 94 taking in between $10m and $25m. 69 casinos took in $25m to $50m, 52 casinos took in $50m to $100m and 59 casinos took in $100m to $250m.

However, the largest single contribution came from 34 casinos which generated more than $250m in revenue. These venues alone accounted for 46.6% of the full-year total.

NIGC vice chair Kathryn Isom-Clause said the co-ordinated effort to gather revenue reports from the casinos was an example of the body’s close working relationship with tribal operators.

“These numbers reaffirm the industry’s health as a stable economic driver for Indian Country,” she said.

“The annual GGR tells a positive story about Indian gaming’s economic success and the industry’s ongoing contribution to a strong economy,” NIGC commissioner Sequoyah Simermeyer explained.

“It also tells the story of how collaboration among tribes, industry and the regulatory communities can build a strong reputation for reliability and integrity in the GGR calculation.”