“Economic encouragement” as US tribal gaming hits revenue record in 2012

national-indian-gaming-commission-2012-revenueTribal gaming operations in the United States saw gross gaming revenue rise 2.7% to $27.9b in 2012, according to figures released this week by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC). Tracie Stevens, NIGC chairwoman, reported that the improved revenue total represents a new record for the tribal gaming sector and marks the third consecutive year of growth following the 2008 recession. Since 2010, tribal GGR has grown an average of 3% per year, leading Stevens to observe: “For those who judge casino spending as an indicator of increased discretionary spending and economic recovery, 2012 revenues certainly display economic encouragement.”

Two-thirds (66%) of tribal gaming operations reported improved GGR in 2012, with 44% of these operations reporting growth of 10% or less (down from the 65% that reported similar growth figures in 2011). Of the total 237 tribal gaming operators (overseeing some 420 gaming establishments) included in the 2012 report, 98 reported annual GGR between $10m and $25m, 70 reported GGR between $3m to $10m and 69 reported GGR of less than $3m. Stevens said the numbers indicated that the majority of tribal gaming operations were “small- to mid-size.”

The NIGC breaks the country down into seven gaming regions, all of which reported improved GGR in 2012. The largest gains in monetary terms ($233m, +5.1%) were seen in the St. Paul Region, which encompasses 120 gaming operations across nine Great Plains states. The Tulsa Region, which contains 64 operations in Kansas and eastern Oklahoma, grew the most in percentage terms ($125m, +6.6%). The Oklahoma City Region, which includes the western part of the state as well as Texas, was second on the percentage gainer chart, rising 5.8% to $1.8b. Full results from each region are listed in the graphic below.