Total revenues contributed by commercial casinos to state and local governments down 2.2 percent last year

Revenue contributed by U.S. commercial casinos to state and local governments was down 2.2 percent in 2008 to $5.7 billion.

The figures, compiled by the American Gaming Association and other sources and published in The Wall Street Journal, show that eight of the 12 states that allow commercial casinos saw their take of gambling revenue fall in the fiscal year that ended June 30, compared with the same period a year ago. In five of those states, gambling income fell by a greater percentage than the state’s overall revenue. Nevada’s gambling-tax revenue fell 15 percent compared with fiscal 2008. That contributed to a drop of 10 percent in the state’s overall revenue.

The economic downturn has seen commercial casino revenues fall 5 percent to about $33 billion in 2008, compared with 2007, according to the AGA.

Many lotteries also are hurting. In a sampling of 20 state lotteries, including California and Illinois, 14 had year-over-year drops in revenue for the fiscal year, according to the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York.

Revenue at 405 Indian-owned casinos tracked by the National Indian Gaming Commission grew 2.3 percent to $26.7 billion in the fiscal year ended September 2008, compared with $26.1 billion from 391 casinos in the year-earlier period.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in at least 14 states have considered expanding gambling as an alternative to raising property or income taxes, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

One key growth area has been in racinos. Five of nine states with racinos sampled by the Rockefeller Institute saw revenue increase in the fiscal year ended June, the Journal reported.