California Controls 25 Percent of All Indian Gaming Revenues

Courtesy Pechanga Resort and Casino Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, California

California Controls 25 Percent of All Indian Gaming Revenues

California had a hot year in American Indian gaming in 2014, with revenues increasing 4.4 percent to $7.3 billion and the Golden State notching more than a quarter of all sector revenue.

According to Casino City’s 2016 Indian Gaming Industry Report, Oklahoma was the second largest Indian gaming state for 2014, the latest year it reported on, at $4 billion, a 14 per cent share. Florida took the bronze at $2.4 billion, an eight percent share.

But it was smaller states that showed the largest percentage increases according to the yearly report written by Dr. Alan Meister. Wyoming, one of the smallest states (it was not in the top 20 for revenue), showed the largest increase, at 13.1 percent. The result was even more impressive since the state showed a 5.2 percent decline in gaming revenue in 2013.

Alabama and South Dakota also showed double digit growth, at 12.1 percent and 11.1 percent respectively. Alabama did not rank in the top 20 in overall revenue, and South Dakota was 17th.

Idaho was the biggest loser, at a negative 8.6 percent, followed by Connecticut (down 6.4 percent) and New York (off 5.2 percent).

In all, the top ten percentage growth states included only two of the top ten revenue leaders, the report noted. It said 12 states contributed positively to Indian country’s total 1.9 percent revenue gain for 2014: California, Oklahoma, Washington, Florida, Oregon, South Dakota, Iowa, Arizona, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Dakota and Kansas.

“California’s four percent gaming growth in 2014 was the fourth straight year it has made a positive contribution toward nationwide Indian gaming growth,” Dr. Meister wrote.

Indian gaming revenue remains concentrated in a few of the bigger states. The top five states had 62 percent of Indian gaming revenue in 2014, according to Casino City’s report. Washington and Arizona were the fourth and fifth biggest Indian gaming revenue states in 2014.

The biggest gaming facilities also held a large concentration of revenue, with those taking in more than $250 million, just six percent of facilities, taking in 40 percent of revenues. Those bringing in $10 million or less made just two percent of revenues for 2014 while representing more than two thirds of all gaming operations.

As far as gaming machines, Oklahoma’s total climbed past 70,000, up 1.2 percent from 2013, with about 40,000 of them Class III machines and about 30,000 Class II machines. All the growth came in Class II machines, however, with a small falloff in Class III machines.

The removal of restrictive Class II machine regulations was credited for the growth of these machines in Oklahoma, where their numbers have been on the rise since 2009.

In 2014, California had 72 Indian gaming facilities operated by 63 tribes, according to the book. They had about 69,000 gaming machines between them along with about 2,000 poker tables. Both of those numbers represented about a two percent decrease from 2013 totals, according to Casino City.

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