Indian gaming could conceivably account for half of the total revenue of the entire gaming industry someday if trends continue.
Supreme Court rulings and action by Congress to pass the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988 accelerated the development of tribal gaming, until by the end of the 1980s there were 80 tribal bingo halls bringing in about $100 million annually. IGRA allowed for more casinos, but also subjected them to tougher regulation.
By the end of last year, Class III gaming accounted for 43 percent of the market, or more than $27 billion. According to Alan Meister’s annual Indian Gaming Business Report, 242 tribes accounted for 460 casinos in 28 states, operating 341,000 slots and 7,700 gaming tables. That is still less than half of the federally recognized tribes that could legally operate casinos.