The revenue from Indian casinos in the U.S. jumped 40 percent in FY 2021 from the previous year, reaching a record high of $39 billion. Of course, 2020 was the first year of Covid, but the 2021 revenues were also a 13 percent increase compared to FY 2019. That is the highest in Indian gaming history.
The revenues for FY 2021 were compiled from independently audited statements of 510 casinos owned by 243 federally recognized gaming tribes across 29 states.
It was a year where the greatest increase in revenue followed the year of its greatest decrease, which had been created by the pandemic forcing the closure of nearly all casinos nationwide for weeks or months.
National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer and Vice Chair Jeannie Hovland made the record announcement live on August 10 at the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association Tradeshow and Conference (OIGA) in Tulsa.
Simermeyer declared, “NIGC recognizes this year’s rebound has not been felt equally by all tribes. We are committed to helping all tribal operations benefit from the regulatory lessons learned over the past two years.” The chairman added, “As we seek to build the regulatory workforce’s preparedness, all parts of the Indian gaming industry have a responsibility to learn from the experiences of tribes who have forged the path so we preserve those lessons and ensure we retain that knowledge for generations to come.”
Hovland added, “The industry has much to celebrate and be proud of. With 43 gaming operations reporting GGR greater than $250 million and accounting for more than 50 percent of total revenues, this year’s revenues underscore the wide diversity in gaming operations across Indian Country.”
According to a press release from NIGC: “With the pandemic still at the top of mind for tribes, Indian gaming continues to show its resiliency through innovative operational advancements and the steadfast leadership of tribal regulatory authorities.”