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Report: Indian casinos' revenue growth surges

Aug 28, 2008 8:35 PM

by Staff & wire reports | While commercial casinos raked in more money than Indian-owned casinos in 2007, revenue growth at tribal gambling facilities outpaced their commercial counterparts, according to a study released last week.

Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report, an annual independent study authored by economist Alan Meister of the Analysis Group.

According to the report, Indian casinos nationwide saw a 5 percent increase in gambling revenue in 2007, bringing in a combined $26.5 billion, a "modest" improvement compared to previous years.

In 2005, revenue rose 15 percent from the previous year, and the increase was 10 percent in 2006, the report says.

Commercial casinos brought in $32.2 billion in 2007, an increase of 2 percent over 2006, the report found.

The slight slowdown in Indian gaming revenues compared to years past can be partially attributed to the lagging economy, the report said. However, restrictions on Indian gaming imposed through legislation, regulations, and gaming compacts, also served to put the brakes on Indian casino growth, Meister found.

Recently proposed restrictions on Indian gaming may also have discouraged investors from opening new casinos or adding more games to existing facilities, the report says.

Other report highlights, according to the Analysis Group, include:

• In 2007, 230 tribes in 28 states operated 425 gaming facilities. These operations directly supported about 346,000 jobs and paid about $12 billion in wages.

• The estimated economic contributions of Indian casinos in 2007, both directly and indirectly: $85.8 billion in output, 732,000 jobs, $29.4 billion in wages.

• Indian gaming facilities in California generated the most revenue in 2007: $7.8 billion, about 29 percent of national total. Rounding out the top five states were Connecticut, Oklahoma, Arizona and F