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Top 10 Indian Gaming Industry Report facts and figures

25 September 2017

The 15th edition of Casino City's Indian Gaming Industry Report was released earlier this year and, as usual, the all-encompassing report is jam-packed with facts, figures, analyses and insights on Indian gaming at the national and state levels. As author and Nathan Associates economist Alan P. Meister, Ph.D., writes in the preface, while this year's report presents facts and figures for calendar year 2015 — the most recent year for which data were available — it is essentially a culmination of more than 16 years of research and analysis.

There are thousands of takeaways within the 252 pages of the 2017 report, but below is a capsule look at 10 of the more compelling factoids from the world of Indian gaming.

(For more information or to order a copy of the Indian Gaming Industry Report, contact Lisa Pasquarosa at (617) 332-2850 x131 or lisa@casinocity.com, or visit www.indiangamingreport.com).

10. The future is bright . . .
Even though Indian gaming has already surpassed traditional commercial casinos in total revenue (more on that later), there are a number of potential opportunities for future growth. Despite the positive growth of the economy following the Great Recession, the economy has still been somewhat sluggish. As the economy continues to improve, it will likely lead to improved growth of Indian gaming. As in previous years, performance will likely vary widely across Indian gaming facilities, tribes and states.

There are several potential sources of future Indian gaming growth, including states that have limited competition or unmet demand; smaller, less mature Indian gaming markets; and states where tribes were previously restricted in terms of gaming supply but are able to expand when there is sufficient demand.

Alan P. Meister, Ph.D., is a top authority on the economics of the gaming industry.

Alan P. Meister, Ph.D., is a top authority on the economics of the gaming industry.

9. . . . But challenges still lie ahead
Given the mix of legal, regulatory, political and economic challenges facing Indian gaming, there is still plenty of uncertainty.

Some of the key economic challenges ahead for Indian gaming include:
  • Increasing competition.
  • Maturation of gaming markets.
  • Game and technology development, such as internet, mobile and skill games.
  • The next generations of gamers.
8. Giving back is an ongoing priority
Indian gaming continues to give back to surrounding communities by making significant economic and fiscal impacts.

In 2015, the total contribution of Indian gaming to the U.S. economy, including both direct and secondary impacts, totaled approximately $103 billion in output, 770,000 jobs, $35.5 billion in wages and $12.3 billion in fiscal impacts.

7. Revenue grew in 24 states
Indian gaming revenue grew in 24 of the 28 states in which it existed, led by Texas at 16%. Three other states (Alabama, North Carolina and South Dakota) enjoyed double-digit growth.

The next six fastest-growing Indian gaming states were (high to low) Florida, California, Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana and Mississippi.

6. But it declined in four states
Indian gaming revenue declined in four states, including a double-digit drop in Wyoming (14%).

The only other declining states were Nevada, Connecticut and New York.

5. California the resounding leader
The largest Indian gaming state in terms of revenue continues to be California, nearly double the size of the next largest state, Oklahoma.

California alone accounted for about 26% of total nationwide Indian gaming revenue. It was by far the leading driver of overall nationwide gaming revenue growth in 2015, given its sheer size and significant growth. The 8% growth was back to pre-recession levels and pushed California Indian gaming to a new all-time high of $7.9 billion in revenue.

The front cover of the Indian Gaming Industry Report, 2017 edition.

The front cover of the Indian Gaming Industry Report, 2017 edition.

4. Diversity remains

As Dr. Meister drives home in the Report, Indian gaming is not a single entity. It's a collection of 242 separate and diverse tribes and 494 gaming facilities. Indian gaming operates 357,000 gaming machines and 7,700 table games in 28 states in 2015.

3. Nongaming amenities on the rise
Just like with commercial casinos and racinos, Indian gaming facilities continue to expand and enhance the number of nongaming amenities available to guests.

In 2015, nongaming revenue at tribal casinos grew approximately 4.5% to an all-time high of $3.9 billion.

2. Gaming revenue at all-time high
Indian gaming facilities nationwide grew approximately 5.5% in 2015 to an all-time high of approximately $30.5 billion, marking the sixth consecutive year of growth.

1. Indian gaming surpasses commercial competition
After steadily closing the gap over the previous reporting years, Indian gaming finally became the largest casino gaming segment in 2015, generating 44.3% of all U.S. casino gaming. Traditional commercial casinos generated 43.3% and racinos generated 12.4%.

Dr. Meister is a recognized authority on the economics of the gaming industry, including Indian gaming, commercial casinos and racinos, card rooms, and iGaming. He specializes in the application of economic analysis to business planning and operations, economic development, litigation, and public policy matters. Dr. Meister’s studies are a trusted resource for gaming operators and suppliers, governments, regulators, investors, the academic community, the media and the public. In addition to his consulting work, he also conducts scholarly research and analysis of the gaming industry, including the annual Indian Gaming Industry Report, which is widely recognized and cited, including by the U.S. Supreme Court. Dr. Meister leads Nathan Associates’ Gaming and Indian Gaming consulting practices. He also heads the firm’s Native American Advisory Services. For more on Dr. Meister and Nathan Associates, please contact him at (949) 474-4955 or ameister@nathaninc.com, or visit nathaninc.com/company/staff/alan-p-meister.
Recent Articles
Best of Gary Trask
Gary Trask

Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT
Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT