Tribal Gaming in the US Skyrockets to $33.72bn GGR in 2018

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A tribal gaming operator's interior, tribal casinos in the United States become popular.
  • Native American casinos generate $33.72 billion in 2018
  • Year-over-year growth hits 4.1%
  • Tribes work closer together to boost profits

Native American casinos have managed to generate a record $33.72 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in 2018. GGR is used to measure the overall performance of casinos out there. Last year’s result constitute a 4.1% Year-over-Year (YOY) increase, which has translated into better scaling in 2019.

Native American Casinos Hit Record High GGR in 2018

The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) has released new data about the financial operations of Native American casinos. The Commission audited 501 financial statements submitted by 241 federally-recognized businesses across 29 states. Commenting on the latest developments, NIGC vice chair Kathrym IsomClause had this to say:

These numbers reaffirm the industry’s health as a stable economic driver for Indian Country. The annual GGR tells a positive story about Indian gaming’s economic success and the industry’s ongoing contribution to a strong economy.

As a result, the NIGC has been able to provide an accurate estimate of how big US tribal gaming market has become. In 2018, casinos have generated estimated $33.72 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR).

Not surprisingly, the Sacramento region, including California as well as Northern Nevada, was one of the biggest generators of income, with 3.1% growth in GGR amounting to a total of $9.28 billion.

North and South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming have all contributed their fair share, although the results slumped in 2018, occasioned by the quick expansion of legal sports betting in the country since May 2018.

Nevertheless, there have been strong signs of development as well. The Portland region that encompasses Alaska, Oregon, Idaho and Washington has managed to throw in as much as $3.66 billion, collected from 55 venues. This constituted one of the most impressive growths, with the state reporting 8.2% YOY improvement.

Then, there was Oklahoma City region – Oklahoma and Texas – which marked another uptick in the activity and hitting 7.2% YOY growth or $2.48 billion.

Results Per Individual Property

Results broken down to each individual property were even more interesting. For example, NIGC established that 102 properties have taken $3 million in revenue – or less thereof. Some 91 had earned between $3 million and $10 million, and another 94 added $10 million and $25 million.

The big winners were 52 casinos that took between $50 and $100 million total, with another 59 properties going well beyond that amount, raking in between $100 million and $250 million on average.

These numbers were quite impressive, but NIGC revealed that 34 properties had managed to generated over $250 million GGR, which basically added up for 46% of the year total. Part of these results have been occasioned by strong collaboration by different tribes and regulators.

Specifically in places like Florida, lawmakers and tribes have been working together to ensure that the industry stays healthy. However, there has been a monopoly on the gaming industry in Florida, with substantial efforts being made to prevent any private company or big gaming brand from entering the state.

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