Report: Tribal Casino Closures Result in Loss of $4.4B in Economic Activity, 728K Jobs

Bronze Crown Dancers statues by Frederick Peso at The Inn of the Mountain Gods resort and casino, owned by the Mescalero Apache Tribe (Photo Courtesy Inn of the Mountain Gods)

Due to the temporary closure of more than 500 Tribal gaming facilities, $4.4 billion has been lost in economic activity, and 728,000 people are out of work. 

Meister Economic Consulting recently released statistics showing the mounting economic impact the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is having on Tribal casino gaming, and as a result, the U.S. economy.  

The entire industry has effectively been shut down across the country, closing 500+ gaming facilities operated by 246 tribes in 29 states.

During the first two weeks of closure, Meister Economic Consulting has estimated significant losses directly at Tribal casinos:

  • $1.5 billion in lost economic activity (i.e., gaming and non-gaming revenue to casinos);
  • 296,000 people out of work;
  • $332 million in lost wages; and
  • $240 million in lost taxes and revenue sharing received by federal, state, and local governments.

Dr. Alan Meister, CEO and Principal Economist of Meister Economic Consulting highlights that “these closures are causing significant detriment to Native American Tribes, many of which rely heavily on gaming related 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.

The losses at Tribal casinos have led to even greater negative economic impacts in the U.S. economy as a whole, including suppliers, governments, and employees:

  • $4.4 billion in lost economic activity;
  • 728,000 people out of work;
  • $969 million in lost wages; and
  • $631 million in lost taxes and revenue sharing received by federal, state, and local governments.

For more information, visit www.meistereconomics.com/coronavirus-impact-on-tribal-gaming.

Meister Economic Consulting is an economic consulting firm that specializes in the application of economic research and analysis to litigation, regulatory, public policy, business development and operations, and economic development matters. Over the past two decades, its economists have been at the forefront of research and analysis of Tribal gaming on behalf of Native American Tribes, gaming operators and suppliers, regulators, investors, and federal, state, and local governments. Its economists have also published for 16 years the scholarly study, the Indian Gaming Industry Report (published by Casino City Press).

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