For the first time since the 2003 tribal/state gaming compact was signed, Arizona’s 22 Indian casinos’ revenues declined over the year before. The state’s casinos have been operating since the 1990s.
Although profit for Indian casinos is a closely guarded secret, the amount of money they contribute in total to the state in taxes is known. In the first quarter of 2008 they paid $24.4 million, which is 1 percent less than the same period the year before. The state collects between 1 percent
and 8 percent of the profits, depending on the individual casino.
That figure is still higher than the average quarterly figure for the past three years, $22.3 million, according to Sheila Morago, executive director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association. She said that wasn’t surprising, considering that the industry depends on disposable income.
The Arizona Lottery is also seeing a slight decline of 2.2 percent for most of its instant winner scratch-offs, a dip that was only reversed for the overall total by the popularity of games which have a large jackpot. They brought the overall total up 2.45 percent for the last quarter.