According to the Washington, D.C. based National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), the U.S. Indian gaming industry recorded its fifth consecutive year of gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the 2014 fiscal year, collecting more than $28.5 billion from its 459 operations.
The gaming industry has showed continuous growth in the past ten years, except during fiscal year 2008-2009 when the entire global economy receded, according to the NICG. Last years GGR of $28.5 billion is representative of a revenue increase of 1.5 percent, up from the prior year’s $28 billion.
Commission Chairman Jonodev Chaundhuri had this to say on Thursday, “Overall, the Indian gaming industry remains stable. Stability comes from solid operations, strong tribal management, and effective regulation by the Indian gaming’s regulatory community, which includes the NIGC and more than 5,400 tribal regulators.”
According to the NIGC, yearly changes were moderate in 72 percent of operations, and revenue increases in operations were approximately 68 percent. The commission added that ten new Indian gaming operations were added in 2014.
According to Chaundhuri, “The Indian gaming industry is driven by the demographics of each area. Many tribal gaming operations are in rural parts of the country where jobs are greatly needed for both natives and non-natives alike,“ and that “tribal gaming revenue – unlike commercial gaming – is heavily regulated, purposed specifically to support Tribal governmental services, to benefit Indian Nations.”
The calculation is based on regional gross revenue from seven NIGC regions across the country. Those regions include Portland, Sacramento, Phoenix, St. Paul, Tulsa, Washington D.C., and Oklahoma City.
The Oklahoma City region serves gaming tribes in Texas and Western Oklahoma, includes 65 casinos, and had the highest fiscal year-over-year percentage increase of 7.5 percent. The Tulsa region, which includes Eastern Oklahoma and Kansas, grew 1.8 percent.
According to Kristi Jackson, CEO of Tribal Financial Advisors, a firm specializing in arranging lending to Indian gaming operations, the revenue increase was a positive sign for the industry. However, lenders look at individual markets, and not so much the national numbers.
Jackson says that while there is expansion occurring in some markets, there isn’t much the addition of gaming supply. The industry is seeing tribal casinos adding hotel facilities or more hotel rooms.
According to the NIGC, ten new tribal casinos were added in the 2014 fiscal year, which includes the Graton Resort in Northern California, operated by Station Casinos on behalf of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.