Tribal Gaming Rising: New GGR Record Set

Tribal gambling in the USA has set a new annual record, generating US$41.9 billion (£33.2bn) in total gross gambling revenue (GGR) for FY23, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission.

The yearly total is an increase of US$1 billion, or 2.4%, from the last on record, the historic FY22 GGR of US$40.9 billion (£31.6bn). Comparatively, the entire commercial gambling sector in the USA generated US$66.5 billion (£52.6bn) in 2023.

Making the announcement at the Wisconsin Gaming Regulators Association Summer Conference in Green Bay, Wis., Acting Chairwoman Sharon M. Avery said, “This year’s GGR results demonstrate how a strong regulatory framework and diversity of tribal gaming enterprises generates growth in the gaming industry.

“Again, this year, tribal gaming operators and regulators have proven that their ingenuity and tenacity are catalysts for growth, even in the face of an ever-changing gaming landscape. This steadfastness will ensure that tribal gaming remains a valuable resource for continued economic sustainability in tribal communities.”

Vice Chair Jeannie Hovland added, “I congratulate the industry regulators, operators, and tribal leadership on another successful year. Their hard work in meeting and overcoming the challenges presented by an increasingly competitive market is evidence that tribes are resilient, and their gaming expertise is yielding benefits for their nations as IGRA intended,” said Hovland.

Growth Across the Board

The revenue figures, collected from 527 gaming operations run by 245 Tribes across 29 U.S. states, show growth across all regions, with Rapid City and Phoenix’s GGR increasing the most year over year: 4.9 and 5.5%, respectively.

Courtesy: National Indian Gaming Commission
Courtesy: National Indian Gaming Commission

According to the NIGC report, these figures should not be viewed in isolation as “Many other factors could have an impact on the GGR at the regional level, such as new gaming operations, expansions or renovations to existing operations, temporary or permanent closures, regulatory changes, or changes in an operation’s fiscal year.”

Except for 2020, due to COVID closures, FY23’s GGR results continue a pattern of consistent upward growth. This growth has seen tribal gross gambling revenue more than double from US$19.5 billion (£15.4bn) in 2004 to US$41.9 billion (£33.2bn) in 2023—less than a decade.

Seminoles and Hard Rock SCOTUS Triumph

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) approved the Seminole Tribe’s continued operations in Florida by deciding not to hear West Flagler’s case in full.

This upholds the previous ruling, which confirmed the state compact giving the Seminoles a monopoly on mobile sports betting and is expected to result in a healthy boost to tribal GGR figures in FY25.

A Win for Good Causes

Growing tribal gambling proceeds is a win for good causes as it funds health, education, conservation, and other projections on reservation lands. Research has found that this revenue is a vital stream of tribal government funding, with residents close to tribal casinos achieving better socioeconomic outcomes than those in areas without.

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