The National Indian Gaming Commission posted its best gross gaming revenue figures yet.
According to the latest figures from the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Gross gambling revenue (GGR) from the tribal gambling sector in the US hit $34.6bn for the fiscal year 2019.
In its announcement, the NIGC noted that in the 32 years since the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act came into effect, 2019 marked the Indian gambling sector’s highest-ever revenue report.
A new record for the tribal sector
The tribal gambling industry’s $34.6bn in GGR marked a 2.5% increase on the revenue generated for the 2018 financial year.
NIGC Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer said: “Healthy tribal economies are important to promoting the tribal self-sufficiency envisioned in the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The growth reflected in the 2019 gaming revenue demonstrates the strength of tribal economies in recent years. The Indian gaming industry is a vital component to many tribal economies across the country.”
Simermeyer noted that it is important to recognise the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on tribal groups.
It is important to remember that the reporting period for the 2019 financial year ended before the coronavirus pandemic forced the temporary closure of every tribal gambling facility in the US.
Some Indian venues have been closed since March 2020. The Pandemic’s impact on the Indian gaming industry will be reflected in the Fiscal Year 2020 GGR report.
NIGC Vice Chair Isom-Clause added: “While we welcome this positive report from FY2019, we know that the current reality is dramatically different. Future reports will reflect the effects of the pandemic on the industry, as well as how it continues to adapt to changing circumstances. Despite these current hardships, Indian gaming, like the tribal nations it benefits, has proved its resiliency over the years.”
The total GGR for the industry was calculated from 522 independently audited financial statements submitted to the NIGC by 245 federally recognized tribes across 29 states. These states were then split into eight regions to cover certain states.
All of these states, with the exception of one, reported year-on-year revenue growth in 2019.
The Oklahoma City region, which covers tribal activities in Western Oklahoma and Texas. Saw the most growth, with revenue up 7.7% year-on-year up to $2.7bn.
Sacramento, which covers the California and Northern Nevada areas, recorded the second-most revenue growth with tribes generating $9.7bn in revenue, up 4.3% from the previous year.
Washington DC, which covers Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and New York, generated the third-highest revenue for the year but was the only region to record a drop in revenue which fell 1.3% to $7.4bn.