Consultants - Gaming & Resorts


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2010 Indian Gaming and Resort Statistics

NIGC’s Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) for 2010 is based on 422 independently audited financial statements submitted by 236 gaming tribes. A table provided with the report shows a steady increase in Indian gaming revenues from $12.8 billion in 2001 to a high of $26.7 billion in 2008. Then in 2009, after the 2008 collapse of many large financial institutions, a downturn in the stock market, a massive government bailout of some of the largest banks, tight credit and soaring interest rates, Indian gaming had its first decline in revenues since the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act dropping 1 percent to $26.5 billion, according to the commission.

The largest number of casino operations – 88 of them – generated gross revenues of $10 million to $25 million. The next highest number of gaming operations – 74 – each generated under $3 million. In descending order, 72 operations generated $3-$10 million; 61 generated $25-$50 million; 53 generated $50-$100 million; 53 generated $200-$250 million; and only 21 Indian casinos earned $250 million and over. Overall, 55 percent of Indian gaming operations reported gaming revenues of less than $25 million, and of these operations, around 62 percent made less than $10 million.

Around half of the Indian gaming operations — 49 percent — showed an increase in gaming revenues last year. Of these operations, approximately 10% showed more than a 50% increase over 2009, the commission said. The increases were due to moderate expansions of existing casinos and casinos that opened during 2009 and recognized the first full-year revenue impact in 2010. Approximately 51% of operations reported a gaming revenue decrease from their 2009 gaming revenues; however, three quarters of these operations experienced decreases of less than 10%. On average, the gains and losses in the industry evened out, the commission said.

For both 2009 and 2010, the most growth in GGR occurred in the Oklahoma City Region, which had 51 gaming operations and gross revenues of $1.6 billion in 2010, up from $1.5 billion the previous year. Growth also occurred in western Oklahoma, Texas and the Portland Region, which includes 50 gaming operations throughout Washington State, Idaho and Oregon and saw revenues of $2.7 billion in 2010, up from $2.5 billion in 2009. Gaming revenues represent amounts wagered less prizes paid. Revenue trends for 2009 and 2010 indicate that other regions are also gaining momentum, the commission said. The NIGC monitors Indian gaming in seven regions.

Indian Casino Facts

  • Tribes receive $4 of every $10 that Americans wager at casinos.
  • Indian casinos earned $26.5 billion in 2010 revenues.
  • There are 422 Indian gaming facilities.
  • 236 tribes operate casinos.
  • Indian gaming operates in 28 states
  • 24 states allow full-scale Indian casinos, 4 allow only Class II casinos (bingo slots)
  • Indian casinos provide 712,000 jobs.
  • Indian gaming paid $10.8 billion in local, state and federal taxes in 2008.
  • Indian gaming pays $1.3 billion in taxes to federal, state, local governments.

Source: National Indian Gaming Commission

Brief History about Indian Casinos

In the very early 1970s, Russell and Helen Bryan, a married Chippewa couple living in a mobile home on Indian lands in northern Minnesota, received a property tax bill from the local county, Itasca County.[1] The Bryans had never received a property tax bill from the county before. Not certain what to do, but unwilling to pay it, they took the tax notice to local legal aid attorneys at Leech Lake Legal Services, who brought suit to challenge the tax in the state courts. The Bryans lost their case in the state district court, and they lost again on appeal in a unanimous decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court. Their last chance was to seek review in the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted review, and in a sweeping and unanimous decision authored by Justice Brennan, the Supreme Court held not only that states do not have authority to tax Indians on Indian reservations, but that they also lack the authority to regulate Indian activities by Indians on Indian reservations.[1] As Gaming Law Professor Kevin K. Washburn has explained, the stage was now set for Indian gaming. Within a few short years, enterprising Indians and tribes began to operate Indian bingo operations in numerous different locations around the United States.

Under the leadership of Howard Tommie, the Seminole Tribe of Florida built a large high-stakes bingo building on their reservation near Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The tribe planned for the bingo hall to be open six days a week, contrary to Florida state law which only allows two days a week for bingo halls to be open, as well as going over the maximum limit of $100 jackpots.[2] The law was enacted from the charity bingo limits set by Catholic Churches. The sheriff of Broward County, where the Indian reservation lies, made arrests the minute the bingo hall opened, and the tribe sued the county (Seminole Tribe v. Butterworth), stating that Indian tribes have sovereignty rights that are protected by the federal government from interference by state government. A District court ruled in favor of the Indians, citing Chief Justice John Marshall in Worcester v. Georgia. Here began the legal war of Indian gaming with a win for the Seminoles.

Controversy arose when Indians began putting private casinos, bingo rooms, and lotteries on reservation lands and began setting gaming prizes which were above the maximum legal limit of the state. The Indians argued for sovereignty over their reservations to make them immune from state laws such as Public Law 280, which granted states to have criminal jurisdiction over Indian reservations.[3] States were afraid that Indians would have a significant competitive edge over other gambling places in the state which were regulated, which would thus generate a vast amount of income for tribes.

In the late 1970s and continuing into the next decade, the delicate question concerning the legality of tribal gaming and immunity from state law hovered over the Supreme Court.[4] The Court addressed the potential gambling had for organized crime through the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970. A report by the Department of Justice presented to the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs on March 18, 1992 concluded that through several years of FBI investigation, that organized crime had failed to infiltrate Indian gaming and that there was no link between criminal activity in Indian gaming and organized crime

Time Line:

1979 - Birth of Indian Gaming
The Seminole Tribe opened a high-stakes bingo hall on their reservation at Hollywood, Florida on December 14, 1979 and the state tried immediately to shut it down. This was followed by a series of court battles leading to a final decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1981. The court ruled in favor of the Seminoles affirming their right to operate their bingo hall.
(Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Butterworth)

1987 - U.S. Supreme Court Recognizes Indian Gaming
The United States Supreme Court ruled that federally-recognized tribes could operate casinos outside state jurisdiction because the tribes were considered sovereign entities by the United States and the gaming operation must not be directly prohibited in that state.
(California v. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians)

1988 - Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) to establish the rules for the operation and regulation of Indian gaming. 

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act

The Act provides that a federally-recognized tribe may conduct gaming activities within the limitations of a compact negotiated between the tribe and the state and approved by the U.S. Department of Interior.

IGRA divides gaming into three classes:

Class I Gaming

  • Defined as "traditional tribal gaming and social gaming" with minimal prizes.
  • There is no regulation outside of the tribal government.
Class II Gaming
  • Defined as gambling played exclusively against other players and not the house.
  • Examples are bingo, poker, and other “non-banked” card games.
  • These games are permitted on Indian land as long as they are legal elsewhere in the state.

Class III Gaming

  • Defined as gambling played against the casino.
  • Includes slot machines, blackjack, craps, roulette, and "all forms of gaming that are not class I gaming or class II gaming."
  • Requires a compact with the state.


Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs handles the administration and management of 55.7 million acres of land held in trust by the United States for American Indians, Indian tribes, and Alaska Natives. There are 562 federal recognized tribal governments in the United States.

Committee of Indian Affairs
This Senate committee has jurisdiction to study the unique problems of American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native peoples including economic development, land management, trust responsibilities, education, health care, and claims against the United States.

National Indian Gaming Association
The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) is a non-profit Indian gaming association of tribal members and industry members. Its mission is to protect the welfare of tribes seeking self-sufficiency through Indian gaming.

National Indian Gaming Commission
The NIGC was established by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 as a federal agency to investigate, audit, review, and approve Indian gaming ordinances.



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