Everybody is getting hurt. I’d wager that this impact will be felt for a long time in the gambling business as people have less disposable income to use at casinos for a while.
With every U.S. casino shut down for at least part of the spring and many still not open, some 241 tribes — including all 11 in Wisconsin — stand to lose about $22.4 billion, more than half their projected revenue this year, according to the National Indian Gaming Association, an inter-tribal organization dedicated to protecting the welfare and sovereignty of tribes.
“Gaming for the most part is what we survive on,” said NIGA chairman Ernest Stevens Jr., a member of Wisconsin’s Oneida Nation. “In a lot of cases, if we don’t have gaming we don’t have dollars. We don’t have a tax base.”
Wisconsin’s casinos generated nearly $1.3 billion in gross revenue based on nearly $17.6 billion in wagers made in the 2018-19 fiscal year, the most recent numbers available from the Wisconsin Department of Administration, which regulates the compacts that govern tribal gaming.“It’s really pretty much crippled our tribal economy,” said Marlon WhiteEagle, president of the Ho-Chunk Nation, whose six Wisconsin casinos generate more than 80% of the tribe’s annual operating budget. “The casinos are really the bread and butter of our funding.”