Economic Impact Study: Tribal Government Gaming a Powerful and Growing Economic Engine for Californi

California Nations Indian Gaming Association


Contact: Susan JensenDirector of Communications (916) 448-8706

Economic Impact Study: Tribal Government Gaming a Powerful and Growing Economic Engine for California, Generating $8 Billion for State’s Economy in 2012

Study finds that Tribal Government Gaming creates more than 56,000 jobs, supports local communities and non-gaming tribes; Economic impact rising since 2010 figures

May 5, 2014, SACRAMENTO, CA – Tribal government gaming continues to generate important benefits across California’s economy and its economic impact is growing, according to a new study conducted by Beacon Economics, a leading independent economic research firm. The study was commissioned by the California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA) and surveyed 17 gaming tribes across the state – or nearly one-third of all tribal government gaming operations statewide. It included a cross section of large and small casinos in urban and rural markets with a range of amenities including hotels, restaurants, retail establishments and entertainment venues.

The 2014 study finds that Indian gaming operations provide benefits throughout California’s economy, with a larger impact on our state’s economic activity than in 2010, the last year studied prior to the new report.

The study serves as both and update and expansion to the previous study by adding expanded research in the areas of non-gaming operations located at tribal casinos, such as hotels, spas, golf courses and concert halls, revenue sharing with non-gaming tribes and charitable contributions. By expanding the report, Beacon Economics was able to measure the totality of benefits generated by tribal government gaming operations.

“California tribal governments are upholding the promise we made to California voters: that we would provide for our people and land, create jobs in local communities, and be good neighbors by supporting the non-profits and public entities that contribute to the quality of life in our regions," said Daniel J. Tucker, Chairman of CNIGA. “Tribal government gaming has delivered for our people, our non-tribal neighbors, local and state governments and California taxpayers, as well as providing financial assistance for non-gaming tribes to assist them in building a foundation for economic independence. Tribal government gaming is creating strong tribal economies throughout California.”

“Our new analysis shows that California tribal government gaming has an $8 billion annual impact and supports more than 56,000 jobs for state residents,” said Christopher Thornberg, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics. “The benefits are broad-based and statewide, reaching far beyond the tribes themselves and generating financial support for local job creation, healthcare, emergency first responders and education, among other essential government services. The analysis also finds that the continuing economic recovery has helped the industry grow, increasing the positive impact of tribal gaming on California’s local communities.”

The study’s key findings included:

  • Tribal gaming generated $8 billion for California’s economy and supports 56,000 jobs statewide: Tribal gaming operations in California generated an estimated $8 billion in economic output in 2012 - $2.9 billion of which represented earnings by California workers - and supported over 56,000 jobs statewide. The 2012 operations had a roughly 7%-7.5% larger impact on California economic activity than in 2010.

  • Expenditures totaled $62.8 million per tribe: Tribal gaming expenditures totaled roughly $62.8 million per tribe in 2012 and consisted predominantly of advertising, administration, food and drink, and gaming expenditures.

  • $4.2 billion in secondary effects: Over half of the economic output generated by tribal gaming operations came through secondary effects—$4.2 billion—indicating that tribal casinos have a substantial impact on the state economy above and beyond their own direct spending.

  • Non-gaming operations generated $2.3 billion output and supported 14,800 jobs: Tribal non-gaming operations in California generated an estimated $2.3 billion in economic output in 2012, supporting over 14,800 jobs statewide, and adding $1.2 billion in value to the state economy – of which $804.6 million represented income for California workers.

  • Tribal non-gaming operations directly employed 8,200 workers: Tribal non-gaming operations directly employed approximately 8,200 workers statewide and supported an additional 6,600 jobs through the secondary effects, such as income spent by tribal casino employees or earnings by suppliers of tribal casinos throughout the state.

  • Indirect effects substantial: The indirect effects of tribal non-gaming operations are substantial. Non-gaming operations stimulated nearly $100 million in economic activityfor real estate firms, nearly $50 million for wholesale trade firms, and over $35 million for restaurants and bars throughout California.

  • Revenue sharing for tribes without casinos: Statewide revenue sharing for tribes without casinos generated more than $100 million in economic output for California and supported 433 jobs statewide in 2012.

  • California gaming tribes active in philanthropic giving: Gaming tribes and their casinos gave $36.6 million in charitable contributions in 2012, generating an estimated $109.2 million in economic output, and supporting an estimated 1,038 jobs statewide. The study also shows that gaming tribes often serve as the most important sources of philanthropic giving in their surrounding communities.

Additional information about the findings and the study in its entirety can be viewed here:

The California Nations Indian Gaming Association (CNIGA), founded in 1988, is a non-profit organization comprised of 34 federally recognized tribal governments. Dedicated to protecting the inherent sovereign right of Indian tribes to have gaming on federally recognized Indian lands, it acts as the planning and coordinating agency for legislative, policy, legal and communication efforts on behalf of its members. It also serves as an industry forum for information and resources.

Beacon Economics is one of California’s leading economic research and consulting firms. Its internationally recognized forecasters were among the first and most accurate predictors of the U.S. mortgage meltdown, and among a handful to correctly calculate the financial and economic crises that followed. Known for accuracy, independence, and rigorous analysis, Beacon Economics gives clients ranging from the State of California to Fortune 500 companies an understanding of economic trends, data, and policies that strengthen strategic decision making about investment, revenue, and policy.