Thursday August 9,2012 :   TRIBAL GAMBLING AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT IN CALIFORNIA ECONOMY
 
Indian gaming trade association releases survey results
 
Tribal gambling enterprises in California may be exempt from state tax, but nevertheless make a serious contribution to the overall state economy, creating jobs and pumping money into the system.
 
This week the California Nations Indian Gaming Association illustrated the point by releasing an independent survey that shows tribal government gaming operations account for $7.5 billion in economic benefits to California and support more than 52,000 jobs statewide.
 
The report was conducted by Beacon Economics and studied 2010 economic data from 13 of the approximately 60 gaming tribes across California, reports the Ventura Star newspaper. Those studied included a cross-section of large and small casinos in urban and rural markets with a range of amenities such as hotels, restaurants, retail businesses and entertainment venues.
 
Of the 52,000 jobs, 30,000 come from operations within the casinos. The study estimates tribal gaming creates an additional 22,000 jobs in the broader economy, putting the industry on par with the state's non-residential construction industry, which accounts for about 53,000 jobs and the apparel manufacturing industry, with 56,500 jobs.
 
Because the casinos are located on sovereign, federally recognised Indian reservations, the tribes do not have to pay income taxes on revenues derived from casino operations.
 
That said, Indian gaming activities generate about $465 million in tax revenues to the state through income and payroll taxes paid by employees and through sales and property taxes from off-reservation facilities.
 
More than 80 percent of casino employees are non-tribal members, according to the report, and earn an average salary of $33,400, usually with benefits, more than double the average salary of California workers in the hospitality industry. Economists estimate the tribal gaming industry produces $1.4 billion in direct wages for its employees.
 
Speaking at a news conference, CNIGA chairman Daniel Tucker said it was time for the state's Indian gaming operations to release a public report card.
 
The CNIGA news conference Wednesday also was used to underline Indian gaming charity work in the state, revealing that many California gaming tribes donate millions of dollars each year to fund cancer research and combat homelessness.
 
Funds generated from gaming also are shared among non-gaming tribes in the state, with about $818 million distributed since the first tribal-gaming compacts were signed in 1999.