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Indian Gambling Revenue Falls In California

Indian Gambling Revenue Falls In California
Indian casinos in California saw declining revenues for the second straight year in 2009 and a new report cites the weak economy for the decline.

Gambling at California Indian casinos generated a quarter of all the Indian gaming revenue raised around the country in 2009. Alan Meister is an economist at Nathan Associates and he tracks the industry nationally. Meister's annual revenue report finds Indian gaming generated $26.4 billion at more than 446 casinos in 28 states. San Diego County has 10 Indian casinos.

California's share of the industry remains strong, but overall revenue fell from 2008 to 2009.

"(It was) down to $6.9 billon dollars in 2009, (and that) was a 5 percent decline," said Meister. "California's been hit pretty hard by the economy and that's having an effect on Indian gaming."


2009 is the second straight year Indian casino gambling revenues went down in California, said Meister.

"I don't know if it'll necessarily continue negative, but I don't expect a lot of significant growth."

Nationally, revenue was down $300 million on a year to year comparison. That's the first time there's been a decline in revenue since Indian tribes got the right to operate Las Vegas-style casinos in 1988.

Meister said gaming revenue increases at Indian casinos were already slowing as early as 2005.