Native American Casinos Continue to Thrive

Numbers officially released by the National Indian Gaming Commission this week show that casinos owned by indigenous tribes continue to be big business for the United States.  The industry brought in $32.4 billion  last year, a 4% increase compared to the year before.

According to the chairman of the commission, Jonodov O. Chaudhuri, Indian Country “has worked very hard to maintain a flourishing and constantly growing gaming industry.”

The Commission took its findings from a number of big hubs around the country, including Washington DC, Tulsa, Phoenix, Sacramento and Portland, among others.

Numbers from these hubs revealed the following:

  • Sacramento was the most profitable, bringing in $9 billion last year.  Home to casinos such as Stones Gambling Hall and the Thunder Valley Casino Resort, Sacramento is also the headquarters of the California Nations Indian Gaming Association.
  • Washington DC brought in $7.3 billion
  • St. Paul brought in $4.6 billion
  • Portland brought in $3.4 billion

The important part that Native American gambling plays in the US landscape leads to the question of where tribal gambling sentiments lie in the most recent development: the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. This reversal of the ban on legalized sports betting opens the doors to a massive increase in sports gambling opportunities in the US, and tribal casinos most certainly want a piece of that proverbial pie.

As soon as the landmark Supreme Court ruling was announced, the National Indian Gaming Commission requested that tribes be given “a seat at the table to voice their positions, bring their perspectives and collective expertise, and maintain regulatory and operational control over all the gaming that occurs on their lands.”

In his statement this week, the Chairman said that the Commission wants to ensure that the success of Indian gaming, which flows from the respect of tribal sovereignty, should be kept in mind regardless of what the emerging market it is – whether sports betting or anything else on the horizon.

“With regards to sports betting in particular, sports betting is currently referenced in our regulations as a Class III game…because it is Class III, it will largely be based on whatever the given compacts are of the given state where sports betting may be available,” added Chaudhuri.

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