by Hillary LaClair, Senior Editor
Tribal casinos based out of Las Vegas Nevada have reported that their annual growth rate is the lowest it’s been in the past twenty years. Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report states that casinos, while seeing a 4.9 percent increase from $25.3 billion to $26.5 billion between 2006 and 2007, it was the lowest year-over-year figure yet reported in the industry. It certainly has not seen the growth that the online casino industry has experienced over the past year.
The report discussed several reasons that may have led to the slowly decreasing interest in land casinos, the first being the hurting U.S. economy. It has also been said that public policies prohibiting gaming expansion may have also resulted in the lower percentage of growth this past year. There were several reasons not discussed in the statement, such as the growing popularity in online casinos, or the recent decision to tax U.S. citizens in American Indian reservations.
Alan Meister of the Los-Angeles based Analysis Group that released the report said, “Indian gaming tends to be less impacted by the general economy. Indian gaming tends to be more regionalized and localized.”
Still, some nongaming areas of Indian casinos have seen substantial increase over the year. Nongaming revenues rose 9 percent from $2.9 billion to $3.1 billion in 2007. Additionally American Indian casinos in Oklahoma grew 22 percent in 2007.
“It’s still a healthy industry,” said Meister. “Oklahoma draws customers from states like Texas and Arkansas, which don’t have a lot of gaming opportunities. That’s why you see their figures climb.”