MILWAUKEE – Indian gambling grew more than eight times faster than non-Indian casino gambling in 2003, bringing in about $16.2 billion nationwide, according to a study released Wednesday.
Non-Indian casinos still brought in more revenue, $26.5 billion, but that represents an increase of just 1.4 percent from the year before, the study found. Tribal gambling revenue grew 12 percent over the same period.
The study, done by Alan Meister, an economist with the Los Angeles-based Analysis Group (search), found that Indian gambling provides 460,000 jobs, $16.3 billion in wages and $5.3 billion in taxes nationwide.
States cannot tax tribes because tribes are sovereign governments. But as Nevada-style tribal gambling (search) has exploded and catapulted some Indians from poverty to great wealth, tribes that want to sign deals with states to establish casinos are increasingly agreeing to share their revenue.
Tribes often pay a portion of their revenue to the state in exchange for a benefit — for example, a monopoly on gambling in a certain area.
Last month, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) signed deals with five Indian tribes allowing a major expansion of gambling in exchange for billions in payments to the state over the next quarter-century.