Washington State Indian Casinos a Booming Market

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July 26, 2006 An interesting study by a Harvard researcher on the Washington state Indian run casinos shows that the their impact on the Washington state economy has increased by 20 times since 1996.

Washington’s “Indian economy,” encompasses everything from tribal casinos to individual businesses, as it employed 30,500 people and generated an estimated $141 million in state and local taxes in 2004, according to a report released Tuesday.

Jonathan Taylor, president of the Taylor Policy Group in Cambridge, Mass., said that while tribal casinos are not taxed, they hire workers and buy supplies, both of which cause money to circulate through the economy and indirectly generate tax dollars.

“The slot machine itself might not be taxable,” Taylor said during the opening session of the Northwest Indian Gaming Conference and Expo. “The casino hires workers, the casino buys carpeting and Coca-Cola. And most of these purchases and wages come from outside the reservation.”

Taylor’s report indicates that casinos generated an estimated $57 million in direct and indirect taxes, namely by creating jobs and buying supplies.

Tribal gambling has exploded across Washington during the past decade. Indian casinos collected an estimated $1.024 billion in gambling revenue last year, according to the Washington State Gambling Commission. Indian gambling brought in a relatively meager $50 million in 1996, which means revenues have increased a staggering twentyfold in only nine years.

All of this research suggests to some outsiders that this may actually be the reasoning that Washington has outlawed online gambling. The idea is that if people are in their houses gambling on the computer, then they are not at the Indian casinos.