The National Indian Gaming Commission (“NIGC) released FY2021 results, showing a stark increase in Gross Gaming Revenue from both 2020 and 2019 to reach a record high.
GGR totalled US$39bn, an increase of 40% from a heavily Covid-19 impacted 2020, and a 13% increase when compared to FY2019. The increase is Indian gaming’s largest ever increase, following the biggest decrease due to pandemic-related closures.
Chairman E.Sequoyah Simermeyer commented: ““NIGC recognizes this year’s rebound has not been felt equally by all tribes. We are committed to helping all tribal operations benefit from the regulatory lessons learned over the past two years,”.
Simmermeyer continued: “As we seek to build the regulatory workforce’s preparedness, all parts of the Indian gaming industry have a responsibility to learn from the experiences of tribes who have forged the path so we preserve those lessons and ensure we retain that knowledge for generations to come.”
How was tribal gaming revenue split?
The NIGC also announced that 43 gaming operations reported GGR of greater than US$250m, and accounted for more than 50% of total revenues, suggesting “this year’s revenues underscore the wide diversity in gaming operations across Indian country”.
Indian gaming does not split revenue out on a state-by-state level, but instead has clusters. Sacramento and Washington DC were the two biggest clusters, making up nearly US$20bn of total revenue, with St Paul, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Phoenix and Portland all contributing between US$3-5bn to the totals.
The figures are comprised of 510 audited financial statements submitted by 243 tribes across the Indian gaming space.
Indian gaming continues its growth, as does commercial operations in the states as shown by the American Gaming Association’s recent report.
Currently the biggest challenge to tribal gaming seems to be Proposition 27 in California, in which CA looks to legalize state-wide mobile sports betting. The tribes are vehemently opposed to it, while encouraging Proposition 26 which would see the tribes able to offer retail sports betting which would undoubtedly see a boost (albeit small) in GGR for CA.