Economic Impact Study: Tribal Gaming a Powerful Economic Engine for California, Generating $7.5 Billion for State’s Economy

Press Release
For Immediate Release


Economic Impact Study: Tribal Gaming a Powerful Economic Engine for California, Generating $7.5 Billion for State’s Economy

August 8, 2012

Tribal government gaming generates important benefits across California’s economy, according to a new study conducted by Beacon Economics, a leading independent economic research firm. The study, commissioned by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), surveyed gaming and non-gaming tribes across the state, including a cross section of large and small casinos in urban and rural markets with a range of amenities including hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and entertainment venues. The study finds that Indian gaming operations provide significant benefits throughout California’s economy. "California tribes made a promise to California voters: we promised we would provide for our people and land as governments, we would provide jobs for our people and our neighbors, we would be good neighbors sharing responsibility for services like fire and police and environmental protection, as well as supporting non-profits and public entities that contribute to the quality of life in our regions," said Daniel J. Tucker, Chairman of CNIGA. "This is our first report card, and I am proud of it. We have done well for our people, our neighbors, local and state governments and California taxpayers, as well as providing financial assistance for 71 other tribes to assist them in building a foundation for economic independence.” "Our analysis shows that California tribal government gaming has a $7.5 billion annual impact and supports more than fifty-two thousand jobs for state residents," said Chris Thornberg, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics. "The benefits are broad-based and state-wide: including tribes and tribal members, non-tribal members, local economies and state and local government budgets. As today’s economy improves and discretionary spending rises, the magnitude of these effects can be expected to grow." Among the study’s key findings: Tribal gaming generates $7.5 billion for California’s Economy: In 2010 alone, $7.5 billion in economic activity was supported by Indian gaming operations. Of that amount, more than half ($3.9 billion) was generated outside of direct spending from the gaming operations. That means that businesses throughout California’s economy -- the vast majority of which are non-tribal -- are being buoyed by Tribal gaming. California tribal gaming creates more than fifty-two thousand jobs and $2.7 billion in income for Californians: The Beacon analysis concludes that tribal government gaming is an increasingly important pillar of job creation in California, supporting more than 52,000 good-paying jobs across the state and generating over $2.7 billion in income. The study estimates that upwards of 80% of casino employees are non-tribal members, and finds that many tribal gaming jobs are filled by lower-skilled workers, those hurt most by the economic downturn. Tribal gaming generates $467 million in revenues supporting essential local and state services: According to the study, tribal government gaming operations generate $467 million in state and local revenues, and non-gaming operations provide an additional $47 million in state and local revenues. Tribal government gaming has provided $818 million in critical support to non-gaming tribes: Revenue generated by tribal gaming provides essential support to non-gaming tribes, funding a range of services including education, health care, and housing. Non-gaming tribes receive up to $1.1 million annually from the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund. To date, the analysis shows that $818 million has been distributed to help reduce the reliance of non-gaming tribes on state and local governments. California gaming tribes foster safe and healthy communities, active philanthropic giving: Many California gaming tribes sponsor police and fire departments to relieve strained county officials and protect tribal and non-tribal community members, according to the report. Tribal gaming revenues also support local health and dental clinics for tribal and non-tribal residents in critical areas where these services are not readily available. The study also reports that gaming tribes often serve as the most important sources of philanthropic giving in their surrounding communities. A fact sheet summarizing the study’s findings and the study in its entirety can be viewed here: The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) founded in 1988, is non-profit organization comprised of 33 federally recognized tribal governments. Dedicated to the purpose of protecting the inherent sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally recognized Indian lands, it acts as the planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communication efforts on behalf of its members. It also serves as an industry forum for information and resources. Beacon Economics LLC is home to some of California's leading economic researchers and consultants. The firm’s internationally recognized forecasters were among the first and most accurate predictors of the U.S. mortgage meltdown-- and among a relative handful to correctly calculate the depth and breadth of the financial and economic crises that followed. Beacon Economics’ clients range from the California State Controller to the Natural Resources Defense Fund to one of Wall Street's most successful hedge funds.

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