pull in a record $25 billion in 2006.
By: Erica Werner
Indian casinos gambling pulled in $25 billion in 2006, 11 percent more than the year before as the industry’s explosive growth outpaced Las Vegas. .
Federal figures announced Monday, compiled from 387 tribal facilities in 28 states, show Indian gambling revenue has nearly doubled in five years.
Indian casinos brought in $12.8 billion from gambling in 2001, $22.5 billion in 2005 and $25.1 billion in 2006, according to the National Indian Gaming Commission.
The continued growth is eye-opening considering the tribal gaming industry is still relatively young,” said commission Chairman Phil Hogen.
In 1988. Congress passed a law creating the legal framework for Indian gambling. The law let Indian tribes , with the consent of a state’s governor, run slot machines and other profitable games on their reservations not allowed elsewhere in the state.
There are now 415 Indian gambling facilities nationwide operated by more than 200 tribes. They range from full-blown casinos with slot machines and other Las Vegas-style games to smaller gambling centers offering video poker. bingo or other games short of slots.
The figures released Monday didn’t include audit numbers from a couple dozen smaller operations that hadn’t yet reported. but Gaming Commission officials said the overall number wasn’t expected to change much.
Indian gambling revenue in 2006 was far richer than the $12.62 billion gambling take in Nevada in 2006.
But Nevada casinos make a lot of money with restaurants, hotels and other entertainment, so their total 2006 revenue was $24.08 billion. Gambling revenue in Nevada increased 8 percent from 2005 to 2006.
Indian casinos aren’t required to report their profits. and most don’t disclose that information, so it’s not possible to know the tribes’ net income. Nevada’s major hotel-casinos posted their highest net income ever in fiscal 2006 — a combined $2.1 billion.
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