- By Darren Thompson
The National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) today announced last year’s Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) for Indian gaming establishments at the Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association’s Tradeshow and Conference. The Indian gaming numbers increased 40 percent to $39 billion for fiscal year 2021 — the highest ever reported by the NIGC.
“Gaming Revenue for FY 2021 is the highest in Indian gaming history, with all NIGC administrative regions showing a positive increase from FY 2020,” the NIGC reported in a press release. “This is Indian gaming’s largest increase, following its greatest decrease brought on by a record level of pandemic-related closures. With the pandemic still at the top of mind for tribes, Indian gaming continues to show its resiliency through innovative operational advancements and the steadfast leadership of tribal regulatory authorities.”
According to the NIGC, the annual announcement is based on independent audit reports from 510 Indian gaming establishments operated by 243 tribes in 29 states on Indian land. This year’s GGR is an increase of 40 percent over fiscal year 2020, and a 13% increase from fiscal year 2019, according to the NIGC announcement today.
“NIGC recognizes this year’s rebound has not been felt equally by all tribes. We are committed to helping all tribal operations benefit from the regulatory lessons learned over the past two years,” said NIGC Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer in a statement. “As we seek to build the regulatory workforce’s preparedness, all parts of the Indian gaming industry have a responsibility to learn from the experiences of tribes who have forged the path so we preserve those lessons and ensure we retain that knowledge for generations to come.”
“While last year experienced a record number of closures there was also growth with new operations opening. This demonstrates gaming operations and tribes are making difficult decisions as they navigate a rebound from the pandemic,” Simermeyer added.
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was enacted by the United States Congress on October 17, 1988, to regulate the conduct of gaming on Indian Lands. IGRA establishes the National Indian Gaming Commission and the regulatory structure for Indian gaming in the United States. The Commission is composed of three full-time members, a chairman and two associate members. The NIGC chairman is appointed by the President, with advice and approval by the U.S. Senate, and the two associate members are appointed by the Secretary of Interior
“The industry has much to celebrate and be proud of,” said NIGC Vice Chair Jeannie Hovland in a statement. “With 43 gaming operations reporting GGR greater than $250 million and accounting for more than 50 percent of total revenues, this year’s revenues underscore the wide diversity in gaming operations across Indian Country.”
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