Indian casinos have seen a sharp decrease in revenue for the first time on a national level as a number of states look at regulation to stem the tide.
The effect has been worst in California, the state that has more than a quarter of the US’s tribal gaming revenue, and those in the state will be watching on with baited breath as Governor Christie makes his decision by midnight ET tonight.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a study released Thursday shows that after several years of slow growth in the industry the $26.4bn in tribal casino revenue represents a 1% decline for the first time in many years.
California, which saw a 5.3% drop in 2009, also saw revenue drop by 3.9% over the past year in their card rooms.
Author of the study, Alan Meister an economist with Nathan Associates in Orange County, told the Chronicle, “I don’t think the market is saturated (in California), but it is maturing.”
While he foresees the industry rebounding with the economy, he added: “I don’t think we’ll be seeing double-digit annual increases any time soon.”
California holds 26% of nationwide revenue taken by tribal casinos but those campaigning for online gaming in the state won’t be perturbed by the news.
Ryan Hightower from the California Online Poker Association, a group of tribal and indian card rooms that supports the legalization of online gambling in the state, believes that the report simply reiterates what they’ve been saying about tribes being able to reach new markets with online gaming.
Inflated estimates published by the newspaper put the amount being spent by Californians at online gaming sites at $13bn per year and Hightower thinks, “We could be keeping some of that money here.”
They will currently be waiting, like us, to see what double C decides.