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Native American casino revenues close in on competitors

Native American casino revenues came close to overtaking those of non-Indian competitors in 2009 even though they fell for the first time on record due to the recession, a report showed on Thursday.
/ Source: Reuters

Native American casino revenues came close to overtaking those of non-Indian competitors in 2009 even though they fell for the first time on record due to the recession, a report showed on Thursday.

Gambling revenue at Native American casinos fell one percent in 2009 to $26.4 billion, the first decline since statistics were first kept in 1988, according to the annual report by Alan Meister, an economist with Irvine, California-based Nathan Associates Inc.

Native American casinos produced 96 percent of the revenue commercial casinos did in 2009, up from 89 percent the year before after further expansion, the report said.

The mid-term outlook for Native American gaming "is good" and an improving economy will bolster demand and make it easier to finance new projects, the report said.

"Indian gaming continued to gain ground and may overtake the commercial casino segment in the near future," the report said.

During the recession, many gambling resorts around the nation saw revenues fall as high unemployment rates and the newly frugal consumer clipped demand. One recent bright spot, however was a report last week that tourism was starting to recover in Las Vegas.

The tax revenue Native American casinos produce has become increasingly important as all levels of government struggle to close deficits and attract employers to hire their residents.

Native American gaming produced a total of $10.5 billion in federal, state and local tax revenue in 2009, the report said. Some 682,000 people worked at Native American casinos, and were paid $28 billion in wages, it added.

The results Native American casinos achieved varied sharply around the nation. California led the pack, producing $6.9 billion of revenue. The top five states -- California, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Florida, and Washington -- produced 61 percent of the gaming revenue for all Native American resorts in 2009, the report said.

For more details, please see: www.casinocitypress.com.

Racinos, which combine horse tracks with other forms of gambling, such as slot machines, grew their revenue by 5 percent, producing $6.4 billion in 2009, the report said.