US tribal casinos set another gaming revenue record in 2018


us-tribal-casino-gaming-revenue-2018US tribal casino operators reported record gaming revenue in fiscal 2018, with positive growth reported across all administrative regions.

Last week, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) released its annual report on tribal casino revenue for fiscal 2018, during which some 501 tribal venues operated by 241 federally recognized tribes across 29 states reported gaming revenue of $33.72b, a 4.1% rise over the $32.4b that 494 venues reported in fiscal 2017.

The 4.1% year-on-year growth matches the rate reported in 2016 and 2017, while 2015 enjoyed a slightly better 5% rate. But unlike previous years, all of the NIGC’s eight geographic regions reported positive growth, led by the Portland region (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington), which rose 8.2% to $3.66b thanks in part to three additional submissions since the 2017 report.

Sacramento (California, Northern Nevada) remains the biggest tribal region in financial terms, with its 73 operations reporting revenue of nearly $9.28b (+3.1%). In second place was the 38 properties in the Washington, DC region (Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and New York), which ranked second with $7.52b (+2.6%). Third place went to the 95 properties in St. Paul (Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin), which rose 4.6% to $4.8b.

The 2017 report showed only one region – Rapid City (36 venues in the Dakotas, Montana and Wyoming) – in negative growth territory. In 2018, Rapid City reported revenue up a modest 1.5% to $368.6m.

Of the 501 submissions in the 2018 report, 34 properties accounted for $15.7b (46.6%) of total revenue. Another 59 submissions accounted for $9.66b (28.6%) while a further 52 properties contributed $3.67b (10.9%). All told, these 145 submissions accounted for 86.1% of the total revenue pie.

NIGC vice-chair Kathryn Isom-Clause said the figures “reaffirm the industry’s health as a stable economic driver for Indian Country.” Associate Commissioner E. Sequoyah Simermeyer echoed this view, saying the report “tells a positive story about Indian gaming’s economic success and the industry’s ongoing contribution to a strong economy.”

The NIGC’s impressive results dovetail with the tribes’ US commercial counterparts, whose 465 casinos reported record revenue of $41.7b in 2018, a 3.5% rise over 2017’s result.