Like the commercial casino industry, tribal casinos across the US continue to bounce back from the pandemic. According to the new fiscal year report from the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), tribal casinos combined for nearly $41 billion in revenue. The number is a 4.9% uptick from FY2021 and the best year on record for the industry.
“This year’s historic revenue reflects the resiliency of many tribal gaming operations, and how tribal gaming continues to rebound and remain strong. Tribal governments and the operations they license continue to explore new and innovative ways to expand and deliver world-class experiences to cultivate sustainable economies. Across Indian country, tribes pursue economic sustainability through gaming by relying on the robust regulatory reputation for which Indian gaming is well known, and made better when supported by efficient and effective measures,” said NIGC Chair E. Sequoyah Simermeyer.
The report includes figures from over 500 different properties spread across 244 tribes, and 29 different states. The NIGC divided the report into geographic regions. The only region not to experience growth over the past fiscal year was the Sacramento region (Comprising California and Northern Nevada) which was essentially flat year-over-year.
In a press call about the results, NIGC CFO Yvonne Lee noted that some closures as well as major renovations at properties in the area, helped account for the flat performance.
The region with the biggest year-over-year growth was Phoenix. Tribal casinos in Arizona saw revenues jump more than 15% to $3.7 billion in the last fiscal year. While the reporting does not break down what verticals the revenue is coming from, the jump times with a change in Arizona law allowing for expanded table games at the state’s tribal casinos in addition to the legalization of sports betting.
There does seem to be some polarization in the results presented by the NIGC. Just 8% of the reports submitted to the group accounted for half of the revenue. Meanwhile, 55% of the reports accounted for less than $25 million in revenue. This is consistent with past results though and not a sign that the tribal gaming industry is consolidating.
“We have cause to celebrate the opportunity successful Indian gaming operations affords tribes to invest in the future and improve the quality of life for individual Native people, and their families, and their communities,” said NIGC Vice Chair Jeannie Hovland.
The American Gaming Association joined in on the celebrating, noting that combined commercial and tribal casino revenue was in excess of $100 billion for FY22-23, a new high watermark for the industry: