State Capitol News
10:51 pm
Fri October 31, 2008

Indian gaming revenue lags

Phoenix, AZ – The state's economic slump is affecting how much people are
willing to wager at tribal casinos. Arizona Public Radio's Howard
Fischer reports.


New figures from the state Gaming Department show that revenue
sharing from Indian casinos was less than $25 million for the
three months ending Sept. 30th. That's down 9.5 percent. The
revenue sharing, required as part of 2002 deal to give Indians
exclusive rights to operate casinos, is a key indicator of
wagering, as tribes do not share actual profit figures. Sheila
Morago, executive director of the Arizona Indian Gaming
Association, said the decline is not a surprise. And she won't
predict how much worse things might get.

(We're riding the same sort of wave as any other industry that
solely relies on disposable income. People have less of it.
They're holding onto it a little tighter. And so we're just going
to have to see when everybody gets comfortable enough to start
spending again.)

Morago, whose organization lobbies on behalf of tribes with
casinos, said she has heard no talk from any of them about laying
off workers because of the slowdown. In fact, she said the Gila
River Indian Community is preparing to add more employees as it
opens new and remodeled facilities on its reservation.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.