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Region including Wind River rez has littlest growth in Indian gaming

Aug 10, 2017 - From staff reports

In July, the National Indian Gaming Commission reported a total $31.2 billion increase in gaming revenue, an overall increase of 4.4 percent, according to the numbers in the fiscal year 2016 gross gaming revenue report.

However, the "St. Paul Region," which includes nine northern states stretching from Wyoming to Michigan, saw the smallest growth.

That region including the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes saw an increase of only 1.1 percent.

The numbers were confirmed by NIGC chairman Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri, vice chairman Kathryn Isom-Clause, and associate commissioner Sequoyah Simermeyer.

"The success reflected in the 2016 gross gaming revenue is due, at least in part, to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's promotion of tribal self-determination principals," Chaudhuri said.

According to the NIGC, in the 1970s rural tribes began gaming, mostly as small bingo facilities, as a means to provide revenue and jobs for their people and to manifest self-determination. The same holds true today, they explained, as is evident by 57 percent of gaming revenue being generated by small or moderately sized Indian gaming operations grossing less than $25 million per year. For gaming tribes, revenue has become a lifeline to generate economic development and supplement moderate funding received from federal government programs and services, NIGC said.

Revenues are calculated based on 484 independently audited financial statements, comprised of 244 federally recognized tribes across 29 States. The gross gaming revenues for an operation are calculated based on the amount wagered minus winnings returned to players and the earnings before salaries, tribal-state compacts and operating expenses. Each of the NIGC administrative regions showed growth during fiscal year 2016 with the following increases being reported:

- Sacramento Region (6.3%)

- Oklahoma City Region (5.7%)

- Portland Region (5.1%)

- Phoenix Region (4.4%)

- Tulsa Region (4.0%)

- Washington, DC Region (3.8%)

- St. Paul Region (1.1%)

"The stable growth is reflective of a healthy and well regulated industry with a tremendous impact on local and state economies," Chaudhuri said. "When Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act almost thirty years ago, it expressly cited in its findings and purposes the long standing federal policy goal to promote tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments; no other economic driver has been able to do that for Indian country as successfully as gaming."
 

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