Report Cites Arizona As Regulatory Example

A recent report named Arizona as one of seven states that takes an active regulatory role in Indian gaming and oversight, and one of six states accounting for 60 percent of all Indian gaming revenue generated in 2013. The General Accountability Office report reviewed gaming regulation effectiveness over the past 25-plus years.

The General Accountability Office recently issued a report, “Indian Gaming: Regulation and Oversight by the Federal Government, States, and Tribes,” that reviewed the effectiveness of gaming regulation over the past 25-plus years. The report determined only seven states take an active regulatory role in Native American gaming and oversight. They are Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, New York, Oregon and Wisconsin.

The report also noted six states that accounted for about 60 percent of all Indian gaming operations and Indian gaming revenue generated in 2013.

Those states are Arizona, California, Oklahoma, Washington, Michigan and New York.

The report said regulatory oversight has helped build credible facilities to create an economic growth engine for Arizona tribes. The state has 23 Class III casinos with gaming, such as slot machines and blackjack tables.

According to a 2012 Arizona Indian Gaming Association report, Indian gaming generated about $1.8 billion in revenue that year and Indian gaming employment topped 15,000. Arizona tribal contributions to the state, cities, towns and counties totaled $97.6 million in fiscal 2013 and $97.8 million in fiscal 2014, according to the Arizona Department of Gaming.

U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona was among the U.S. senators who requested the GAO study to investigate the effectiveness of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which was enacted in 1988. The GAO surveyed more than 400 gaming operations in 28 states, which generated revenue totaling $28 billion, according to the report. The report found that the act has been successful in increasing economic growth among tribes, said Anne-Marie Fennell, director of the GAO’s Natural Resources and Environment division.

When GAO staff visited Arizona casinos as part of its research for the report, Valerie Spicer, director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association, said, “The unique thing we had to show is that tribal gaming in Arizona has three levels of oversight: tribal gaming commission, state gaming regulations and a federal level. Here in the state of Arizona, having a well-operated, credible facility is essential.”

The GAO report offered several recommendations, including that the National Indian Gaming Commission will seek input from states on minimal control standards for gaming casinos; and that the NIGC will review and revise performance measures as needed to better assess training and technical assistance efforts.