Tribal Casino Closures Leave 296k Out of Work, $4.4bn in Lost Economic Activity

  • Most of the 524 tribal casinos across the US have voluntarily closed due to the pandemic
  • Estimated that $4.4bn in economic activity has been lost during the past two weeks
  • There is no end in sight for the closures, losses likely to increase
  • The federal government has given an $8bn aid package to tribal communities
native indian riding a horse in the sun
Tribal casino closures have left 296,000 people out of work and resulted in $4.4bn being lost in economic activity. [Image:]

Impact of casino closures

As a result of most tribal casinos across the United States being shut down for the past two weeks, 296,000 people have found themselves out of work.

According to Meister Economic Consulting, an experienced research firm that specializes in Indian gaming, the impact of these closures on the US economy is around $4.4bn in lost economic activity.

the tribal casinos themselves have lost about $1.5bn in gambling revenue

Of the $4.4bn estimate, $969m is the result of lost wages, with $631m being revenue share and taxes for local, state, and federal governments. It has also been estimated that the tribal casinos themselves have lost about $1.5bn in gambling revenue.

Tribes rely on gambling revenue

As per the report released by Meister Economic Consulting, the casino closures are having a major impact on the Native American tribes.

Many of these tribes rely on gambling revenue “to pay for tribal government operations, infrastructure, and social and economic programs and services for a Native American population that is already substantially disadvantaged.”

With no end in sight to the coronavirus pandemic and casino closures set to continue, the situation is only going to get worse for Native American tribes. Last year, tribal casinos generated $33.7bn in gross gaming revenue, a figure that will be significantly lower this year. 

$8bn aid package

Almost all of the 524 tribal casinos across the United States have closed their doors to stop the spread of coronavirus. However, as sovereign nations, these establishments are not legally required to shut down, unlike commercial casinos. 

Assistance has been provided to tribal communities through the federal government CARES Act. This includes the provision of $8bn in urgent financial assistance for tribes, as well as $500m for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which is part of the Department of the Interior.

The government has also been providing vital testing and medical supplies. Small businesses have been helped through this program with paycheck protection for employees.

Gambling businesses losing out

However, a lot of the aid allocated for small businesses does not cover those that generate at least one-third of their total revenue through gambling activities. Therefore, the National Indian Gaming Association is calling on its members to ask for more aid from the Trump administration. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *