Tribal Casinos Collect $18.5 Billion in 2004

Indian casinos (search) pulled in $18.5 billion in 2004, a 10 percent increase over 2003 and the latest year of double-digit growth for the booming industry, a tribal group reported Tuesday.

The figures from the National Indian Gaming Association (search) indicate that tribal casinos have far surpassed Nevada casinos in gambling revenue. Major Nevada resorts took in $19.59 billion in the 2004 fiscal year -- $9.88 billion of that was from casino games. The Indian casino figure is just for gambling.

"Is Indian gaming working? Well, resoundingly yes," said Mark Van Norman, the gambling association's executive director.

The figures were an estimate for the 2004 calendar year based on data from tribes. Van Norman was not able to provide a net profits figure. Final figures will be released in the summer by the National Indian Gaming Commission (search).

Twenty-eight states have tribal casinos, and there are a total of 411 Indian casinos nationwide. Most of them have been built since Congress passed a law creating the legal framework for Indian gambling in 1988.