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Indian Gaming

American Indian Gaming in 29 States

Since legalization by Congress in 1988, Indian Gaming has developed and grown over the decades to become a $31 billion industry. Today Indian gaming operates in 29 states.

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News Updates

News U.S. 2018 Casino Revenues Approach $76B March 11, 2019 - The combined revenues of all U.S. casinos, both Native American and commercial, is estimated at nearly $76 billion in 2018 ... Read more News Online Gaming Market to reach $96B by 2024 June 25, 2018 - Market research shows a rapidly growing market for online gaming in the United States and the world. ... Read more News 2017 Indian Gaming Revenues Increase 3.9% to $32.4 Billion June 26, 2018 - The total 2017 revenue is based on audited financial statements of 494 gaming operations owned by 242 federally recognized Tribes. ... Read more More Headlines ...
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Brief History about Indian Gaming

1979 Birth of Indian Gaming - Florida Seminoles open high-stakes bingo hall.
1981 U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Seminole bingo hall was legal.
1987 U.S. Supreme Court ruled California Indian card games are legal.
1988 U.S. Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA)
2018 Sports betting restrictions overruled by U.S. Supreme Court.

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. (Ref: 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 gaming facilities 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. (Ref: 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 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.

There is more information about the IGRA in the next section.

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Indian Gaming Regulations

Indian gaming is authorized by the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). Under this law Indian tribes in any state can conduct gambling on Indian land as long as the type of gambling has been authorized for non-Indians.

The IGRA defines "Indian land" as either:

  • Land that is part of a federally recognized Indian reservation, or
  • Off-reservation land that is held in trust for a tribe by the federal government.

The IGRA divides  gaming into three classes:

  • Class I Gaming
    Defined as "traditional tribal gaming and social gaming" with minimal prizes.  This class is controlled exclusively by tribal governments.
  • Class II Gaming
    Defined as gambling played exclusively against other players and not the house.  Examples are bingo, poker, keno, pull-tabs, punchboards, and other "non-banked" card games.  It is governed by a tribal ordinance that must meet federal guidelines and be approved by the National Indian Gaming Commission.
  • Class III Gaming
    Defined as gambling played against the house, sometimes referred to as Vegas-style gambling.  Includes slot machines, blackjack, craps, roulette, and "all forms of gaming that are not class I gaming or class II gaming."  Tribes negotiate a gaming compact with the government of the state in which it is located. The compacts insure the gambling complies with state laws.
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Government Agencies

  • 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.
    http://www.nigc.gov
     
  • 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 568 federal recognized tribal governments in the United States.
    http://www.doi.gov/bia/
     
  • 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.
    http://indian.senate.gov
     
  • 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.
    http://www.indiangaming.org
     
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News Headlines

News NIGC Statement on the Supreme Court ruling on Sports Betting May 15, 2018 - (PRESS RELEASE) The National Indian Gaming Commission of the U.S. Interior Dept issued a statement of support to those tribes seeking to offer sports wagering on their lands. ... Read more News NIGC Reflects on 30-Year Growth of Indian Gaming
01.28.2018 - From a $1 million industry 30 years ago to a burgeoning $30 billion economic powerhouse today, a look at the Indian gaming's development and ... Read more
News Does Indian gaming have a $100 billion economic impact?
10.19.2017 - A report on the economic impact of Native American casinos in the U.S. was recently released. The report was presented by the American Gaming Association (AGA). It was released in Oklahoma City ... Read more
News 2016 Indian Gaming industry grew 4.4% to $31.2 billion
07.17.2017 - National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) released the Fiscal Year 2016 Gross Gaming Revenue numbers totaling $31.2 billion, an overall increase of 4.4%. ... Read more
News 2015 Indian Gaming industry grew 5% to $29.9 billion dollars
07.15.2016 - National Indian Gaming Commission Press Release PR-250 07-2016, Live from Indian Country, the NIGC Announces Largest Tribal Revenue Gain in 10 Years, ... Read more
News 2014 Indian Gaming industry grew 1.5% to $28.5 billion
07.23.2015 - Released data showing revenues generated by the Indian gaming industry in 2014 totaled $28.5 billion, marking the fifth consecutive year of growth of gross gaming revenues (GGR) since 2009. ... Read more
News 2013 Indian Gaming Industry Report
05.06.2015 - 2015 Casino City Press today announced the release of the 2015 edition of Casino City's Indian Gaming Industry Report the most comprehensive, up-to-date study of Indian gaming ... Read more
07.17.2012 2011 Indian Gaming Revenues Increased 3% 06.18.2012 Court ruling will slow development of some Indian casinos 06.14.2011 US rescinds policy against off-reservation casinos 06.15.2010 Casino Alcohol Policies & Free Drinks 06.14.2010 2009 Indian Gaming Revenues are $26.5 Billion 11.30.2009 Obama administration opposes Carcieri v. Salazar 06.03.2009 NIGC Announces 2008 Revenues 04.02.2009 Congress asked to reverse Carcieri v. Salazar 03.10.2009 Supreme Court ruling Carcieri v. Salazar 10.12.2008 20 years under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act 1988 08.22.2008 2007 Indian Gaming Industry Report 06.24.2007 Indian Casinos grew 5% in 2007 ($26 billion revenues)

News Articles

U.S. 2018 Casino Revenues Approach $76B

March 11, 2019

The combined revenues of all U.S. casinos, both Native American and commercial, is estimated at nearly $76 billion in 2018. Final numbers are pending and will be published in a few months.

Indian Casinos

2018 revenues for Indian casinos are estimated to exceed $33 billion dollars.

Indian gaming operates in 29 states. The leading revenue contributors were California, Oklahoma and Florida.

Commercial Casinos

2018 revenues for commercial casinos were nearly $43 billion dollars, a 3% increase over the previous year. Nevada

Commercial casinos are licensed by 20 states. Nearly 28% of commercial revenues was in Nevada which did $12 billion dollars. The other major contributors were New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

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2017 Indian Gaming Revenues Increase 3.9% to $32.4 Billion

PRESS RELEASE
Provided by NIGC - National Indian Gaming Commission
June 26, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC June 26, 2018 - Today Chairman Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri, Vice Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause, and Associate Commissioner Sequoyah Simermeyer of the National Indian Gaming Commission released the Fiscal Year 2017 Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) amount saw an increase of 3.9% over 2016, totaling $32.4 billion.

The FY 2017 revenues are calculated from the independently audited financial statements of 494 gaming operations, owned by 242 federally recognized Tribes. The GGR for an operation is the amount wagered minus winnings returned to players. It represents earnings before salaries, tribal-state compacts, and operating expenses.

The annual announcement of Gross Gaming Revenue numbers for Indian Country provides a yearly snapshot of the economic health of Indian gaming. As 2018 marks the 30th year of gaming under IGRA, it is an opportune time to reflect on key policy principles that have helped create the successes of a healthy Indian gaming industry these policies include:

The preservation of the role of Tribes as the primary regulators and beneficiaries of their operations;

  • Recognition and utilization of Congress's stated intent and IGRA's built-in flexibility to promote technological innovation, such as the use of electronic aids in class II gaming;

  • Faithful application of the law that accounts for the unique histories and land-bases of Tribes and IGRA's built-in flexibility to allow Indian gaming on a variety of different types of Indian lands;

  • And finally, the primacy of the nation to nation relationship between tribes and the federal government and tribes, one that predates the US Constitution.

The consistent growth of the Indian gaming industry year after year shows how well tribes run and regulate complicated operations. By staying in its regulatory lane and supporting tribes as the primary regulators, the NIGC has supported the Indian gaming industry's entrepreneurial spirit and self-determination goals.

"All of Indian Country has worked very hard to maintain a flourishing and constantly growing gaming industry," said the Chair of the NIGC, Jonodev O. Chaudhuri. "The successes of Indian gaming in the 30 years since IGRA prove that the foundational principles of federal Indian law should remain at the forefront of any future public policy discussions," he said.

For more detailed data and information such as region-specific information refer to the media center tab under the Public Affairs division on the National Indian Gaming Commission website.

###

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act created the National Indian Gaming Commission to support tribal self-sufficiency and the integrity of Indian gaming. The NIGC has developed four initiatives to support its mission including (1) To protect against anything that amounts to gamesmanship on the backs of tribes; (2) To stay ahead of the Technology Curve; (3) Rural outreach; and (4) To maintain a strong workforce within NIGC and with its tribal regulatory partners. NIGC oversees the efficient regulation of 506 gaming establishments operated by 246 tribes across 29 states. The Commission's dedication to compliance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act ensures the integrity of the growing $32.4 billion Indian gaming industry. To learn more, visit www.nigc.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Source: www.nigc.gov

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Online Gaming Market to reach $96B by 2024

June 25, 2018

After market research analysis, it is estimated that by 2024, online gaming revenue could total $96 billion worldwide.

It is being projected overall that mergers and acquisitions are the reason behind the trend of consolidation. Restrictions and regulations from the government and the increase of market saturation has been making the opportunity in the online gaming market highly competitive for companies. This has made it even more of a challenge for small companies to be successful int eh industry.

Market research also showed that there are two areas where smaller companies could expand into for the online gaming market. One of those markets is based on the increase world wide of personal electronics usage. Most people have more than one device that they use. In addition to their personal computer most there has been an increase in the purchase of smartphones, tablets, and electronic readers.

Most of the users of these devices are between the ages of 18 and 49. The amount of people around the globe that have access to these technologies has been increasing. Gaming technologies that support these types of devices is one avenue that smaller companies may try to use to take advantage of the surging gaming market. Another option would be for the development of gaming using virtual reality devices.

Countries that create an online gaming market have been having much success. Especially in the United States. One emerging issue in the online gaming market in the United States is that each individual state has their own online gaming regulation.

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NIGC Reflects on 30-Year Growth of Indian Gaming

PRESS RELEASE

30 in 30: NIGC reflects on development of Indian gaming

Written by National Indian Gaming Commission

Published: 26 January 2018

From a $1 million industry 30 years ago to a burgeoning $30 billion economic powerhouse today, a look at the Indian gaming's development and impact under the guidance and support of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1987.

Thirty years ago this year, the United States Supreme Court decided the case California vs. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, upholding Tribes' rights to operate gaming on their lands. In the time since that momentous decision, Indian gaming has evolved into a $30 billion industry that is still growing. Indian gaming has become a major, and positive, economic force throughout Indian country.

Tribes began formalizing the Indian gaming industry in the 1960s and 1970s to provide a source of revenue for their governments. Leading up to the Cabazon decision, and in its immediate aftermath, debates about regulating tribal gaming arose. The compromise reached with Congress, in the form of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, drew from the prevailing goals of modern federal Indian policy to support tribal self-determination, self-sufficiency and economic development. IGRA provides a statutory basis for the operation of Indian gaming as a means of promoting and upholding those goals. It remains one of the most successful pieces of federal Indian legislation and has served as a catalyst for economic development, ensured Tribes are the true primary beneficiaries of their gaming activities and supported the integrity of the industry.

Indian gaming has positively impacted millions of American Indians and Alaska Natives and has proven to be a critical income source for many Tribes. For small, rural Tribes, who do not always have many economic opportunities to support self-sufficiency, gaming operations have been a lifeline to supplement the assistance currently received through federal funding. In many instances, revenue from Indian gaming has buttressed tribal program budgets, allowing Tribes to provide important services for their members and direct funding to other important tribal priorities such as supporting cultural and language revitalization, healthcare, education, housing and more.

Although tribal gaming varies in size and revenue, even the smallest gaming operations provide direct and indirect benefits, including jobs for tribal and local community members. Gaming has also served as a jumping off point for Tribes to diversify, leading to robust economic portfolios and success in industries that were initially not feasible. The Blue Lake Rancheria in California, for example, has invested gaming revenues in a community-scale microgrid with solar photovoltaic power and advanced energy storage. This operation increased the Tribe's workforce by 10% in addition to saving them $250 thousand annually in energy costs.

Tribes have always been the architects of their own success in the industry, as expertise and experience have developed, more and more Tribes are looking beyond their own facilities to the tribal gaming landscape as a whole. The Indian gaming industry has provided a powerful platform for Tribes to work together and share their knowledge, enhancing inter-tribal relations and further bolstering the well-being of Indian Country at large. The Mohegan Tribe, for example, has used their thirty years of gaming experience to assist a sister Tribe in Washington State develop and manage a new gaming facility.

Further, the industry's influence extends to surrounding local and state economies. It provides opportunities to some of the most underserved areas in the country, creating a platform for employment and business development throughout the supply chain from casino vendors to local gas stations, restaurants, and hotels. Additionally, Tribes give their gaming revenue to local emergency and social service organizations and to charitable causes, truly impacting countless lives. The Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho donates 5% of casino earnings to schools throughout the state and was instrumental in the development of Kootenai County's first and only free public transit system, CityLink, with an initial $1.38 million grant and continued annual financial support.

As we look toward the future of Indian gaming, with its inevitable technological evolution and expansion, IGRA's purpose remains as relevant as ever. The policies and procedures of IGRA, maintained and implemented by the NIGC, have provided Tribes with the support, guidance, and protection to develop a healthy, robust gaming industry. The NIGC, with its unique expertise developed over the past 30 years, is vigilant in adapting to all industry advancements and working in tandem with regulatory partners to ensure a well-regulated gaming industry that supports tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency and strong tribal governments. These efforts in conjunction with IGRA's sound principles will continue guiding Indian gaming into a bright and prosperous future.

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