WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) released fiscal year 2021 (FY 2021) gross gaming revenue (GGR) numbers totaling $39 billion, an increase of 40 percent over FY 2020 and a 13 percent increase compared to FY 2019. Chairman E. Sequoyah Simermeyer and Vice Chair Jeannie Hovland made the announcement live from Tulsa, OK.
Gaming Revenue for FY 2021 is the highest in Indian gaming history, with all NIGC administrative regions showing a positive increase from FY 2020. This is Indian gaming’s largest increase, following its greatest decrease brought on by a record level of pandemic-related closures. With the pandemic still at the top of mind for tribes, Indian gaming continues to show its resiliency through innovative operational advancements and the steadfast leadership of tribal regulatory authorities.
“NIGC recognizes this year’s rebound has not been felt equally by all tribes,” said Chairman Simermeyer. “We are committed to helping all tribal operations benefit from the regulatory lessons learned over the past two years. As we seek to build the regulatory workforce’s preparedness, all parts of the Indian gaming industry have a responsibility to learn from the experiences of tribes who have forged the path so we preserve those lessons and ensure we retain that knowledge for generations to come.”
Indian gaming’s regulatory community remains mindful that dramatic fluctuations – whether positive or negative – require time for the industry’s return to more predictable trends. Tribes engage in gaming for a variety of reasons, and have different ways to define an operation’s success. The path returning to pre-pandemic trends has meant different things for different gaming operations.
“While last year experienced a record number of closures there was also growth with new operations opening,” added Simermeyer. “This demonstrates gaming operations and tribes are making difficult decisions as they navigate a rebound from the pandemic.”
Vice Chair Hovland noted this year’s GGR also reflects Indian gaming geographic, demographic and financial diversity. “The industry has much to celebrate and be proud of,” said Hovland. “With 43 gaming operations reporting GGR greater than $250 million and accounting for more than 50 percent of total revenues, this year’s revenues underscore the wide diversity in gaming operations across Indian country.”
The FY 2021 revenues are calculated from the independently audited financial statements of 510 gaming operations owned by 243 federally recognized tribes. Indian gaming operations are located on Indian land in 29 states.