WASHINGTON – Indian 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.
Most of the growth has come since 1988, when 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.
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.
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.