American Gaming Association

AGA Report Details Tribal Gaming Impact on US State Economies

The American Gaming Association (AGA) has released the results of a study detailing the positive economic impact of tribal gaming operations in 28 US states. The study, the largest and most detailed of its kind, marked the second consecutive year that the AGA teamed with Meister Economic Consulting to produce the study. This 2018 edition was also boosted by the availability of additional data from another large survey of the US casino-entertainment study, done by Oxford Economics, that was released in September.

While the study was designed to illustrate the economic impact of the tribal-gaming market, the results serve up some surprises as well. For instance, which US state is home to the most land-based tribal gaming operations. Most people would guess California, but in fact it’s Oklahoma, which has 131 such facilities to California’s 74 (though California has numerous other gambling forms and facilities as well.

According to the study’s overview, these are some of the largest state-level impacts attributable to tribal gaming:

  • California is the largest tribal gaming state by economic activity, jobs and tax payments. Tribal casinos add $20 billion to the Golden State’s economy, support jobs for nearly 125,000 Californians and generate $3.4 billion in taxes and revenue share payments to all levels of government.
  • Oklahoma is the second largest tribal gaming state with tribal casinos, creating jobs for nearly 75,000 Oklahomans, generating $1.6 billion in taxes and revenue share payments and adding $9.6 billion to the state’s economy.
  • Tribal gaming added $6.1 billion to Florida’s economy, supported nearly 46,000 jobs and generated more than $1.1 billion in state, federal and local taxes and revenue share payments.
  • The upper Midwest is a hub of tribal gaming activity. Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin tribal casinos combined generated nearly $1.5 billion in state, local and federal taxes and revenue share payments, supported nearly 78,000 jobs and added $10.2 billion to the states’ economies.

Sara Slane, the AGA’s senior vice president of public affairs, said, “Tribal gaming operators are present in 28 states and create nearly half of all U.S. gaming revenue. This report details the widespread economic impact that tribal casinos have in states across the country, providing diverse career opportunities, supporting local businesses and generating tax revenue and revenue share payments for all levels of government.”

The AGA has yet to publish the complete study, yet a separate two-page topline offers more detail. The United States’ 500 tribal gaming facilitates collectively accounted for 45 percent of all gaming revenue generated in 2017, the year covered by the study. The topline describes the tribal-gaming sector as a “critical driver” of the US’s economic activity generated by the casino-entertainment industry.

The revenue and jobs created by tribal gaming in the US included the following:

  • $105 billion in output (value of sales);
  • 676,000 jobs (measured as FTEs);
  • $36 billion in wages to employees; and
  • $15 billion in taxes and revenue share payments to federal, state and local governments.

A state-by-state fiscal breakdown shows that California’s tribal casinos still generated more total gaming “output” (a collective category based on gaming revenue, but also reflecting wages paid and tax revenue generated) than any other state. California’s 74 tribal facilities generated roughly twice as much economic output as the 131 facilities in Oklahoma, reflecting the much larger size of many Cali tribal casinos. Oklahoma still ranked second in this economic-output reckoning, however, with Florida third, Washington fourth, and Arizona fifth. Upper Midwest states (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan) also boast an outsized tribal gaming presence. The image below shows each of the US states with a tribal gaming presence, color-coded according to the segment’s total economic impact:

 

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