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American Indian casinos are rebounding from recession, study says

March 06, 2012|By Hugo Martin
  • A gambler at Morongo Casino in Cabazon.
A gambler at Morongo Casino in Cabazon. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

An improved economy and lower unemployment rates boosted revenue at American Indian gaming casinos in 2010, helping them rebound from their first ever drop in revenue a year earlier, a report said.

The 1% increase in gambling revenue generated by 448 American Indian facilities in 2010 marks a rebound from the 1% decline in revenue in 2009, according to a study released Tuesday by Alan Meister, an economist with Arlington, Va.-based Nathan Associates Inc.

Non-gambling revenue, such as spending on food and entertainment at casinos, increased 0.3% in 2010. American Indian casino revenue represented 44% of all gambling revenue in the nation last year, the study said.

American Indian casinos in California generated the most revenue in 2010, $6.8 billion, but that represents a 2.5% drop in gaming revenue compared with 2009, according to the study.

"With gross domestic product and personal disposable income on the rise and employment decreasing at a slower rate both nationwide and in every state, Indian gaming was able to turn things around in calendar year 2010," according to the report.

Tribal gambling revenue and profit are rarely reported publicly and industry estimates are often late as a result.

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