Casinos: Native American Tribal Casinos - Tribal-commercial Casino Ventures
million gaming tribes revenue
Casino building is very expensive. Those tribes that have built casinos have had to borrow large sums of money and/or obtain investors to do so. In general, for
|Tribal gaming revenues by revenue class (in thousands), 1999–2003|
|Gaming Revenue Range||Number of operations||Revenues (in thousands)||Percentage of operations||Revenues||Mean (in thousands)||Median (in thousands)|
|SOURCE: National Indian Gaming Commission Tribal Gaming Revenues, in NIGC Announces Indian Gaming Revenue for 2003, National Indian Gaming Commission, July 13, 2004, http://www.nigc.gov/nigc/documents/releases/pr_revenue_2003.jsp (accessed August 7, 2004)|
|Gaming operations with fiscal years ending in 2003|
|$100 million and over||43||10,714,581||13%||64%||249,176||184,332|
|$50 million to $100 million||35||2,459,698||11%||15%||70,277||65,416|
|$25 million to $50 million||55||1,984,673||17%||12%||36,085||37,029|
|$10 million to $25 million||67||1,144,779||20%||7%||17,086||16,894|
|$3 million to $10 million||57||350,398||17%||2%||6,147||5,819|
|Under $3 million||73||76,019||22%||0%||1,041||833|
|Gaming operations with fiscal years ending in 2002|
|$100 million and over||41||9,510,660||12%||65%||231,967||179,101|
|$50 million to $100 million||24||1,694,606||7%||12%||70,609||65,577|
|$25 million to $50 million||55||1,978,519||16%||13%||35,976||38,984|
|$10 million to $25 million||65||1,067,513||19%||7%||16,423||16,570|
|$3 million to $10 million||63||386,399||18%||3%||6,133||5,373|
|Under $3 million||100||78,359||29%||1%||784||461|
|Gaming operations with fiscal years ending in 2001|
|$100 million and over||39||8,398,523||12%||65%||215,347||158,836|
|$50 million to $100 million||19||1,415,755||6%||11%||74,513||79,083|
|$25 million to $50 million||43||1,528,611||13%||12%||35,549||34,264|
|$10 million to $25 million||58||997,546||18%||8%||17,199||16,328|
|$3 million to $10 million||57||385,654||17%||3%||6,766||7,292|
|Under $3 million||114||96,257||35%||1%||844||575|
|Gaming operations with fiscal years ending in 2000|
|$100 million and over||31||6,606,284||10%||60%||213,106||141,684|
|$50 million to $100 million||24||1,693,510||8%||15%||70,563||73,314|
|$25 million to $50 million||41||1,360,777||13%||12%||33,190||29,944|
|$10 million to $25 million||50||856,464||16%||8%||17,129||17,335|
|$3 million to $10 million||55||350,110||18%||3%||6,366||6,250|
|Under $3 million||110||91,545||35%||1%||832||541|
|Gaming operations with fiscal years ending in 1999|
|$100 million and over||28||5,845,787||9%||60%||208,778||136,897|
|$50 million to $100 million||19||1,323,995||6%||14%||69,684||70,412|
|$25 million to $50 million||33||1,193,049||11%||12%||36,153||35,990|
|$10 million to $25 million||59||1,028,834||19%||10%||17,438||17,562|
|$3 million to $10 million||54||322,268||17%||3%||5,968||5,764|
|Under $3 million||117||86,907||38%||1%||537||395|
Native American casinos, the law requires that tribes partner with companies for no more than five years and limits the companies' revenue to 30% of the total revenue. Under some circumstances, the partnership can last seven years and the companies' portion can be as much as 40% of total revenue.
At the end of 2003 the NIGC reported that forty-two gaming tribes had approved management contracts in place with commercial companies. Another eighteen potential contracts were under review at that time. One-third of the existing contracts are with gaming companies based in Las Vegas. Harrah's Entertainment is a partner in five of these contracts.
Tribal casinos have faced fierce opposition from commercial casino operators, who fear the competition. This is particularly true in California, where tribal casinos could cut deeply into Nevada casino revenues, as California's residents provide a large share of Nevada's gambling revenue. However, commercial casino companies see new opportunities for revenue gain through partnerships with Native American tribes. Some tribes have welcomed the investment capital and casino management experience offered by commercial partners. This is particularly true for small tribes.
For example, the Trump 29 Casino is a $60 million venture located in the Mojave Desert 130 miles southeast of Los Angeles, California. The casino, which opened in April 2002,
is owned by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Luiseno Mission Indians, which has thirteen adult members. The casino is managed by Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts of Atlantic City, a commercial company owned by billionaire businessman Donald Trump. A tribal spokesperson said that the tribe selected the company for its name recognition appeal and for the management expertise it could bring to the casino.
In July 2002 the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Mission Indians opened a $16 million casino in southern California near the Salton Sea. The tribe has only one adult member. The tribe teamed with the company Paragon Gaming of Las Vegas to develop the casino, which has several table games and about 350 slot machines.
Casino business ventures between companies and very small tribes are particularly controversial. Critics say that small tribes are being manipulated by outside investors who only want to cash in on tribal casinos. The California Nations Indian Gaming Association insists that small tribes should not be denied the tremendous economic opportunities offered by casinos. According to a spokesperson, "The reason some of these tribes have only one or two people left is because Indians were exterminated."