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indian casinos now a 23 billion dollar a year industry


Last Edited: June 21, 2006, 7:37 am

Indian Casinos Now a $23 Billion-a-Year Industry

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 21) - Gambling revenue at American Indian casinos nationwide grew to nearly $23 billion last year, climbing at a rate more than three times faster than traditional gambling operations.




California tribes accounted for nearly a third of the money, according to a comprehensive report on Indian gambling to be released Wednesday.

Nationwide, Indian gambling revenue grew by 15.6 percent in 2005, even though no major casinos opened last year, according to the Indian Gaming Industry Report, compiled by economist Alan Meister. It was the 10th consecutive year in which revenues increased by about 15 percent.

The growth can be attributed to expanded offerings at existing casinos and stepped-up marketing by tribes that are adding Las Vegas-style amenities to lure more visitors.

The report shows tribal casinos closing in on the amount of profits taken in by other casinos, which had $29.6 billion in revenue in 2005, a 4.6 percent rise from the previous year.

California's tribes saw revenue climb by 24 percent, to $7.2 billion, in a state where 55 tribes operate 57 casinos. That rate of growth isn't likely to slow any time soon, Meister said.

Nebraska led all states in growth last year, at 228 percent, after adding a third casino and other offerings at existing facilities. Only four states saw a decline in revenue: Alaska, Louisiana, Maine and South Carolina.

Meister, an economist with the Analysis Group in Los Angeles, uses data from government agencies, Indian tribes and casinos, gambling associations and other studies, as well as some proprietary financial data that tribes are not required to publicly report.

Wednesday's report also found the nation's 420 Indian casinos are responsible for the equivalent of 310,000 full-time jobs and about $10.5 billion in wages. Meister said Indian gambling directly and indirectly accounts for $6.9 billion in tax revenue.

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