Tribal, State Leaders Applaud Gaming’s Nearly $2 Billion in Benefits

Kyle Knox
Gila River Indian News


Leaders from various tribes and the state convened at the Arizona State Capitol on May 9 to commemorate the substantial $1.98 billion contribution of tribal gaming to the state since 2004. Statewide tribal gaming has allocated considerable portions of its earnings to the Arizona Benefits Fund for critical purposes like education, emergency, trauma care, tourism, wildlife conservation and supporting neighboring cities, towns and counties.


“Tribal gaming is an economic driver for Arizona and our gaming contributions allow us to build and strengthen partnerships with our local cities and municipalities,” said Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, who attended the news conference. “Tribal gaming in essence is tribal sovereignty, building our economic base, opportunities and advancement for our tribal members, and to also meet the many unmet needs.”


The Arizona Indian Gaming Association (AIGA) led the programming and shared the highlights of what these contributions mean for the state and its economy. “It’s difficult to imagine what our state would look like without the significant contributions of our Indian gaming communities,” said Robert Miguel, Chairman of the Ak-Chin Indian Community and AIGA.


Revenue contributed to the Arizona Benefits Fund has benefited the following statewide programs in th4 following amounts:

Education, $877 million

Emergency services and trauma care, $438 million

Cities, towns, counties, $219 million

Tourism, $125 million

Wildlife conservation, $125 million


“I am so proud to join you today to celebrate an incredible milestone,” said Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs. “Tribal gaming is a powerful exercise of sovereignty in the face of failed federal policies that only served to hurt and endure America’s first citizens.”

In her remarks, Gov. Hobbs emphasized the significant role of tribal gaming in boosting the state’s economy and critical infrastructure. She also recognized the importance of maintaining a strong partnership with tribes to continue benefiting both the state and tribes in the future.


“To the tribal leaders here today, your investments have helped to make Arizona what it is today, on behalf of the people of Arizona, thank you,” she said.


Tribal gaming revenue also set a record for the third quarter of fiscal year 2023, according to AIGA, contributing $27.6 million to the Arizona Benefits Fund. This is up nearly 20 percent from the same period in fiscal year 2022. Given that number, in the fourth quarter of 2023, tribal gaming revenue appears to be on track to exceed $2 billion since its inception.