The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has published its overall gross gaming revenue figure for the 2020 fiscal year, declaring a decrease of almost 20% due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NIGC reported FY2020 revenues of $27.8bn, a decrease of 19.5% over FY2019’s $34.6bn due to the pandemic’s impact on its regions.
The commission’s Sacramento region (California and Nevada) suffered the smallest decline in GGR of 13.2% on the year to $8.4bn (FY2019: $9.7bn), while its Rapid City region (Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming) experienced the largest GGR decrease of 36.6% to $238.6m (FY2019: $376.5m).
Chairman E Sequoyah Simermeyer believes the NIGC’s GGR decrease will only be a ‘temporary setback’ thanks to the efforts of the tribes during the pandemic.
He commented: “This gross gaming revenue decrease was expected; the unknown was just how much of an impact COVID-19 had on Indian gaming.
“Every year, the annual GGR figure tells a story about Indian gaming’s successes, contributions to Indian communities, and economic impacts. This was highlighted even more during the pandemic. Nevertheless, tribes were on the forefront of creating standards, developing new safety protocols, and sharing community resources. I foresee this decrease as only a temporary setback for Indian gaming.”
The GGR figure is a revenue aggregate from 524 independently audited financial statements of 248 federally recognized tribes across 29 states. The GGR for an operation is based on the amount wagered minus winnings returned to players.
Vice Chair Jeannie Hovland added: “Despite the limits and uncertainty of the last year, it is important to focus on the sacrifices of and economic refuge provided by tribes and the community impacts.
“Tribal gaming has shown resilience and commitment, and continues to develop new roads to economic stability. I look forward to seeing Indian gaming continue to lead the way in efforts to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”