California’s Casino Revenue Sharing Fund Running Out Of Money

Funds that have provided gaming revenue to non-gaming tribes and mitigation funds to communities affected by Indian casinos are running out of money.

Two funds that California’s Indian casinos have paid into for 14 years to provide revenue sharing with non-gaming tribes and communities impacted by gaming, are running out of money.

According to the California Legislative Analyst Office the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund and Special Distribution Fund, have no committed more money than they actually have on hand.

“In recent years, this shortfall has averaged around $30 million,” says the report about the Revenue Sharing Trust Fund.  The money has in the past assisted tribes that have no casinos, or which have very few slot machines.

The Special Distribution fund will probably run out of money next year. It also has a $30 million deficit, according to the report. 

The original state tribal gaming compacts negotiated in 2000 and 2001 provided for payments into the funds. However, as compacts have come up for renewal, particularly under former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger most tribes have managed to negotiate away that requirement or else the state required that they pay directly into the general fund.

However, the general fund may end up being tapped to pay for some of the programs that the two funds have provided up until now, according to the LAO. That includes programs such as gambling regulation, problem gambling programs and grants to communities impacted by gaming—in addition to payments to non-gaming tribes.