In a weak economy, Indian gaming nationwide experienced modest growth last year, with 230 tribes operating 425 gaming facilities in 28 states that generated $26.5-billion in gaming revenue. That's up 5 percent from 2006, according to the just-issued "Casino City's Indian Gaming Industry Report" authored by Alan Meister, an economist with Analysis Group.
The top five gaming states — California, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Arizona and Florida — accounted for 62 percent of total gaming revenue last year. Total gaming revenue generated by Florida Indian gaming facilities — two tribes operate eight facilities — was about $1.6-billion, an increase over 2006 of only 2.3 percent. That puts the state at No. 18 in percentage growth among gaming states. In 2006, growth was a more muscular 21.5 percent, and 38.5 percent in 2005.
The slower 2007 growth, though aided in part by the gaming expansion at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa, was caused by a sluggish economy and increased competition, according to the gaming report.
The big question going forward for Florida Indian gaming is whether the compact allowing an expansion in gaming agreed to between the Seminole Tribe and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist will be upheld. The Florida Supreme Court ruled Crist lacked the authority to sign off on the compact without approval of the state Legislature. That ruling is being appealed.