Who would have ever guessed that an area that was least struck by the recession the last couple years would be casinos? I’m not talking about the casinos in Vegas. Vegas casino profits dropped 57.3% between 2007 and 2008. Nor am I talking about the casinos in Atlantic City. Those casinos saw profits drop from 148.7 million dollars to 111.2 million dollars covering the same three month span in 2010. That adds up to a 25% drop in profits. No, I am talking about the casinos run by the American Indians.
From 1999 to 2008, the casinos saw a dramatic increase in profit from 9.8 billion dollars to 26.7 billion dollars, an obvious dramatic increase. However, there was a slight drop-off between 2008 and 2009, from 26.7 billion dollars to 26.5 billion dollars.
But, if you look at the dramatically rising profits, the casinos were due for one off year. However, this was a 1% drop in profits compared to the other sites. While this can be attributed to the recession, there are many other factors that the Indian casinos must face. Alan Meister, an economist with Nathan Associates Inc. says that “”public policies designed to restrict the supply of Indian gaming,” including legislation, regulation, judicial decisions and state-tribal gaming pacts,” were put in place. That is a lot that the profits of the casinos are up against. So, something had to give. It’s just very interesting that something that has such a large impact on the growth of the U.S economy has to face all these challenges. Not only that, besides generating needed revenue, the casinos generated over 600,000 jobs nation-wide, probably the most important statistic, for American Indians and Non-Indians alike.
Some of you may notice that there was a slight decline in the increase of profits in the years before 2009. However, this should not cause people to fret. Meister again says, “The economy will improve, bringing back consumer confidence, disposable income, spending on casino gambling, and financing for some future casino developments.” This bodes well for the health of the casinos as well as the U.S. economy.
Casinos are something we rarely bring up in class. We read a lot of articles regarding literature, stereotypes, activism, but not so much about the impact of casinos, not only on American Indian jobs and culture, but also on the economy. It is clearly something of a lot of importance to reservation in terms of producing revenue. It would be interesting to learn more information on how the casinos became a source of occupation and revenue for American Indians because it is something I have never learned about or gone over. Maybe, before the end of the year we will.
Statistics courtesy of Indian Country Today and the Las Vegas Sun.