Tribal casinos are struggling

American Indian casinos continued to generate record game revenue in 2007, but not at the same annual growth rate seen over the past two decades. American Indian casinos earned $26.5 billion in gaming revenue last year, up 4.9 percent from $25.3 billion in 2006, according to Casino City’s Indian Game Industry Report. The research, which is being released today, was written by Alan Meister, an economist at Analysis Group based in Los Angeles.

The increase was the smallest year-on-year for the U.S. Indian casino industry in nearly two decades. Indian game sales rose 10.2 percent in 2006, 14.6 percent in 2005, 15.3 percent in 2004 and 14.3 percent in 2003. A slump in the U.S. economy, blamed mainly for an unprecedented drop in sales in the U.S. commercial casino market, may be affecting Indian casinos. Some states have also considered slowing growth in public policies limiting game expansion.

Still, Meister said that’s a rise in the figure. “Indian games tend to be less affected by the general economy,” Meister said. “Indian games tend to become more localized and localized.” The industry is still growing in other fields. In 2007, non-game revenue from the casino increased 9 percent from $2.9 billion to $3.1 billion. Also, tribal casinos employed about 346 million workers in 2007, compared to about 343 million in 2006. Salaries were about $12 billion in 2007, compared to $11.2 billion in 2006.

“It’s still a healthy industry,” Meister said. According to the report, American Indian tribes ran 425 gaming facilities in 28 states during 2007. California continued to be the center of Indian gaming. The state’s 60 Indian casinos made up more than $7.8 billion in gaming revenue during 2007, which was 29.4 percent of total Indian gaming revenue.

However, California’s revenue growth rate in 2006 was only 1.6 percent, which Meister attributed to a weak economy and restrictions that slowed growth. Last February, voters allowed some tribes to increase the number of slot machines they could provide to more than 2,000, a smaller limit in 1999. Instead, casinos will pay the state increased fees. However, these expansion will not affect until later this year and into 2009.

Meister said California’s sluggish economy may be playing a role in slowing growth, as its Indian casinos mainly attract customers in the state. “We needed to expand, but we’re getting delayed,” Meister said. 메이저 토토사이트

In comparison, Indian casinos in Oklahoma saw their gaming revenues increase by more than 22 percent in 2007, reaching nearly $2.5 billion. Tribes in Oklahoma added five new casinos in 2007 due to a change in state law that allowed casinos to offer Las Vegas-style slot machines.

“Oklhama attracts customers from states like Texas and Arkansas, which is why the number of customers is increasing in states that don’t have a lot of gaming opportunities,” Meister said. “That’s why we’re seeing their numbers increase.”

With only two casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, Connecticut continues to maintain the No. 2 gaming market in India, earning more than $2.5 billion. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun combined have 13,469 slot machines and 691 table games. Both casinos have expansion plans for 2008.

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