Despite the September 11 terrorism attacks and a slowing economy, the commercial casino industry last year posted an 11 percent increase in gaming revenue nationwide, according to a report by Merrill Lynch.
Overall, casinos reported revenue of $38.7 billion, an 11 percent gain over 2000 and more than double the revenue of seven years ago.
Merrill Lynch analysts predict the trend will continue with a 5.8 percent revenue increase to $41 billion this year.
Fueling the increase was the continued expansion of tribal gaming. Nationwide, tribal casinos accounted for one-fourth of all casino revenue, and virtually all of the year’s increase, $3.8 billion, occurred in Indian casinos.
Most of the increase in tribal gaming came in California, which last year rose to become the nation’s third largest gaming market, behind Nevada and New Jersey. The other $1 billion-plus per year markets include Mississippi, Connecticut, Louisiana, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Michigan.