Chairman Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri, Vice Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause and Associate Commissioner Sequoyah Simermeyer of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) released the Fiscal Year 2016 Gross Gaming Revenue numbers totaling $31.2 billion, an overall increase of 4.4 percent.
"The success reflected in the 2016 gross gaming revenue is due, at least in part, to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's promotion of tribal self-determination principals," said Chaudhuri.
In the 1970s rural Tribes began gaming, mostly as small bingo facilities, as a means to provide revenue and jobs for their people and to manifest self-determination. The same holds true today as is evident by 57 percent of gaming revenue being generated by small or moderately sized Indian gaming operations grossing less than $25 million per year. For gaming tribes, revenue has become a lifeline to generate economic development and supplement moderate funding received from federal government programs and services.
Revenues are calculated based on 484 independently audited financial statements, comprised of 244 federally recognized Tribes across 29 states. The GGR for an operation is calculated based on (1) the amount wagered minus winnings returned to players and (2) earnings before salaries, tribal-state compacts and operating expenses. Each of the NIGC administrative regions showed growth during FY16 with the following increases being reported:
- Sacramento Region (6.3 percent)
- Oklahoma City Region (5.7 percent)
- Portland Region (5.1 percent)
- Phoenix Region (4.4 percent)
- Tulsa Region (4.0 percent)
- Washington, DC Region (3.8 percent)
- St. Paul Region (1.1 percent)
"The stable growth is reflective of a healthy and well regulated industry with a tremendous impact on local and state economies," said Chaudhuri. "When Congress passed IGRA almost thirty years ago, it expressly cited in its findings and purposes the long standing federal policy goal to promote tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments; no other economic driver has been able to do that for Indian country as successfully as gaming."