California Indian Gaming Reaches $7 Billion Again

Mark Fogarty

American Indian gaming in California hit $7 billion again in 2013, according to Casino City Press, the gaming publisher based in Newton, Massachusetts.

California Native volume for 2013 (the latest year available) hit $6.995 billion, according to information given to the media so they could come up with combined Indian and commercial gaming numbers. That’s the best result since 2008’s $7.3 billion. The record year for Native gaming in the Golden State was 2007’s $7.8 billion.

Gambling in the state with the most Indian gaming dollars has basically been plateaued from 2011-2013 at just below $7 billion. California saw four $7 billion years in a row, from 2005 to 2008.

California’s volume helped Indian gaming nationwide eke out a small gain, from $28.2 billion in 2012 to $28.3 billion in 2013, according to Casino City.

Oklahoma was the second in Indian gaming dollar volume. It too managed a tiny gain, from $3.7 billion in 2012 to $3.8 billion in 2013.

Florida, at $2.4 billion, barely edged Washington state ($2.3 billion) for the bronze in Native gaming revenue for 2013.

Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Connecticut and Wisconsin also showed more than $1 billion in revenues for 2013, along with a grab bag of states lumped together as “other states.”

The information on state Indian gaming was given out in a spreadsheet as an aid to reporters receiving copies of Casino’s City’s 2015-2016 North American Gaming Almanac. The data previously was available only on the CD version of Casino City’s annual Indian Gaming Industry Report. Adding the two datasets produces a combined total for Indian and non-Indian lending.

Though the North American almanac concentrates heavily on commercial (non-Indian) gaming, there are many things in it relevant to Indian gaming.

In the rankings of North American gaming machines, for instance, the top three, and four of the top five, are Indian casinos. The biggest, with 7,487 machines, is the WinStar World Casino and Resort, Thackerville, Oklahoma, owned by the Chickasaw tribe. The second, at 5,660, is the Mashantucket Pequot Nation’s Foxwoods Resort Casino, located in Mashantucket, Connecticut. Number three with 5,518 is Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Connecticut, owned by the Mohegan tribe. Number five is the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Tampa, Florida, with 5,000 machines.

Foxwoods, at 350, and Mohegan Sun, with 288, were the number one and two North American casinos in terms of table games.

WinStar, Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun and Seminole Hard Rock Tampa also ranked numbers one through four on gaming positions. To determine gaming positions, gaming machines (which count as one position) and table games or poker games (which count as six positions) are added together. WinStar’s count was 8,573, Foxwoods’ was 8,360, Mohegan Sun’s was 7,498, and Seminole Hard Rock had 6,026 positions.

One area where the commercial casinos dominate is hotel rooms. The top 20 are located in Las Vegas or Atlantic City. The biggest Indian casino, Foxwoods, is number 21 with 2,577.

Data on Canadian Native gaming, which counts for only two percent of Canada’s total, is given. Canadian tribes took in $255 million Canadian dollars in 2013, a jump from $251 million Canadian dollars in 2012.

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