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Let the Games Begin Industry report tells the gaming story

Covering an industry like Indian gaming, as it expands by leaps and bounds, challenges even the most enterprising journalist.

With more than 227 participant tribal governments offering two classes of gaming in 420 facilities located throughout 30 states, tracking down and sorting through mounds of data can be a daunting endeavor. Thanks to the Indian Gaming Industry Report, compiled and written by economist Alan Meister, that task has gotten easier.

The 2006 – ’07 edition of the report contains a host of facts and figures about the Indian gaming industry in the United States. From an analysis of the industry’s nationwide economic contribution to revenue sharing amounts paid by tribes, from numbers of slots and table games to non-gaming revenue, and from a state-by-state summary of trends and activities to a directory of gaming tribes and facilities, the report has it all.

Did you know that in 2005:

* Gaming tribes paid a combined $985.2 million in revenue sharing to various states?

* Indian gaming directly supported 310,000 jobs with wages of $10.5 billion?

* The total fiscal benefit of Indian gaming, including tax revenues and direct payments by tribes to local and state governments, was $8 billion?

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* Indian gaming comprised 41 percent of the national casino gaming market?

* The top five Indian gaming states – California, Connecticut, Arizona, Oklahoma and Minnesota – combined to generate 61.4 percent of the industry’s $22.7 billion in revenue?

These are but a few of the many facts found in this comprehensive and informative report. Meister has moved mountains to gather and present a wealth of data on a rapidly growing and changing industry. The fruits of his efforts are useful and welcome.

Two factors keep Indian gaming in the national spotlight – the industry’s sustained double-digit annual growth and the Abramoff lobbying debacle. Both perpetuate the false impression that an out-of-control Indian gaming industry has created a slew of rich Indians. Nothing could be further from the truth.

But some of our national politicians are feuding over potential amendments to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and debating other restrictions on Indian gaming. It would serve them well to read this report.

Meister speculates that any legislative and/or regulatory changes currently under consideration would not greatly affect the long-term expansion of existing Class III gaming, the industry’s main area of growth. Rather, he believes that such changes, again depending upon how they are framed, could have considerable impact on Class II gaming and the tribes operating in states that only offer Class II. Want to know why? Read the report.

The Indian Gaming Industry Report, now in its fifth year, is an essential reference tool and information source for anyone – executives, managers, vendors and, yes, journalists – with an interest in the Indian gaming industry. For more information on the report and to obtain a copy, visit