The Contributions of Indian Gaming to Oregon’s Economy in 2018 and 2019

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The Oregon Tribal Gaming Alliance (“OTGA”) is a coalition of Indian Tribes. Since 2003, they have engaged ECONorthwest to calculate the impacts of Tribal casinos on Oregon’s economy using audited financial data. These reports have in-depth analyses of all forms of gaming in Oregon, with estimates of the impacts tribal gaming has had on tribal members, tribal governments, and rural charities throughout the state. This report covers the years 2018 and 2019.

Major Findings:

In 2019, eight Tribes operated ten gaming facilities in Oregon. Eight were casinos and two were Class-II (video bingo machine) facilities. Besides gaming, the tribe’s casino businesses offered other amenities including hotels, restaurants, RV parks, golf courses, shops, conference centers, movie theaters, and other entertainment venues.

In 2019, Tribal casinos and resorts employed 4,571 workers and paid them $238.3 million in wages and benefits. In addition, earnings from gaming paid for about a fourth of total tribal government services covering $43.9 million in compensation for 635 employees in Oregon.

Since Tribes employ almost exclusively Oregonians and mostly buy goods and services from Oregon businesses, tribal gaming had major indirect impacts on the rest of the state economy. In addition to their direct impacts, in 2019 tribal gaming positively influenced many aspects of the state’s economy:

  • Tribal gaming directly and indirectly supported 10,873 jobs statewide earning $556 million in wages, benefits, and self-employment earnings.
  • Tribal gaming indirectly supported businesses and governments in Oregon by an amount totaling $784.9 million in output—not counting what the Tribes made.
  • Over 6.6 million visits were made to Oregon casinos in 2019 including more than 1.2 million visitors from out of state.
  • Tribal gaming impacted government revenues including $34.9 million for the state of Oregon, $16.4 million for local government, and $108.5 million for the federal government.
  • Tribal casinos spent $12 million on gaming regulation. Tribes paid $1.6 million to the Oregon State Police and over $300,000 to federal government gaming regulators.
  • Including casinos, hotels, restaurants, and other amenities, tribal gaming businesses reported $641.9 million in revenue. From that, the casinos provided $182.9 million to their Tribes; most of it paying for member healthcare, social services, and public works.
  • Tribes donated and granted over $8 million to local charities in 2019 and $163.7 million since 1992—the year the first casino opened in Oregon.
  • Tribal casino hotels sold over 434,440 room nights to guests visiting the rural Oregon communities where their hotels are located.
  • While successful, the dominance and competitive advantages of the Oregon Lottery eroded the market share of tribal casinos from its peak of 35.5 percent in 2002 to 29.6 percent in 2019.

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The Contributions of Indian Gaming to Oregon’s Economy in 2018 and 2019