Michigan Tribal Casinos Contribute to Record Breaking National Indian Gaming Revenue



  • According to the National Indian Gaming Commission, the Indian gaming industry in the US generated $40.9 million in 2022.
  • This gross revenue is a lifetime record set in the industry, a 4.9% improvement on the receipts from the 2021 fiscal year.
  • The St. Paul Region, of which Michigan is a part, reported a revenue of $4.9 billion from 96 gambling operations last year.

Michigan is one of 29 states in the US with licensed Indian gambling establishments, and from all indications, this sector of the gaming industry has so far thrived. While revenue reports for Indian gambling establishments are not regularly published, like state gaming receipts that are reported monthly, every year, we get insights into the performance of the sector.

Most recently, the National Indian Gaming Commission released the Gross Gaming Revenue Report for the 2022 fiscal year. According to this report, the US Indian gaming industry generated over $40 billion in 2022. Michigan and five other states in the St. Paul Region recorded gross receipts of $5 billion.

Iowa, Michigan and Four Other States Pool $4.9 Billion in 2022 Fiscal Year

The pandemic brought hard luck to tribal gaming across the country, most especially Michigan. However, over the past two years, the Indian gaming sector has shown great promise of a bounce back. According to the 2022 Gross Gaming Revenue Report from the National Indian Gaming Commission, tribal gaming recorded $40.9 billion in the past year. This figure is the highest ever recorded in the industry.

Compared to the 2021 fiscal year where the industry generated about $39 billion, the recently released gross gaming revenue figures represented a 4.9% growth. Pre-pandemic figures from the 2019 fiscal year set national gross gaming revenue at $34.9 billion, indicating that Indian tribal gambling has now surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

Most importantly, the contribution of states cannot be overlooked. The St. Paul region, comprising Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska and Wisconsin, contributed a whopping $4.95 billion to the gross gaming revenue. This region is home to 96 gaming operations out of the total 519 audited gaming establishments spanning 244 tribes and 29 states in the US.

Back in 2021, the St. Paul region pooled $4.78 billion, and compared to FY2022, the region saw a 3.4% jump in revenue. The region was the third highest earning region, with only D.C. and Sacramento regions ahead. Interestingly, despite being the biggest earning region with $11.7 billion, it was also the only region with a revenue decline compared to FY 2021.

Online Casinos Central to Indian Gaming Revenue Performance in Michigan

One of the best indicators into the performance of tribal casinos in their taxes and mandatory state payments. While Indian tribes in Michigan do not pay tax, strictly so called, they are, however, required by law to pay 2% of their gross receipts to state and local authorities. This amount covers their revenue on Class III machines (slot and table games).

In 2022, the 12 gaming tribes in Michigan posted a combined payment of $30.8 million, a decline of 2.2% from $31.5 million paid in 2021, but slightly ahead of pre-pandemic figures. For context, Michigan tribes paid $30.5 million in 2019 to state and local authorities. But other indicators have pointed to online casinos being responsible for the boost to pre-pandemic levels.

Online casinos have been the backbone of Michigan gambling revenue for a while now. Last year, online casinos generated a massive $1.58 billion in revenue in the Wolverine State. While Detroit casinos accounted for about half of this figure, tribal-owned online casinos managed to pull some weight. For instance, DraftKings Casino Michigan, a partner with the Bay MIlls Indian Community, generated almost $250 million.

25 Michigan Players Finish as Winners in the 2024 WSOP Main Event

Still on the money, but in another aspect of gambling, 25 Michiganders have ended up winners at the WSOP Main Event. More interesting, Steven Jones, a Michigan native emerged the runner-up from thousands of players. Prior to now, only three Michigan natives have won the World Series of Poker Main Event. Although Jones set his sights on emerging as the winner, he had to settle for second place as Daniel Weinmann from Atlanta beat him to the grand prize.

Weinmann won a record-setting $12.1 million while Jones took home $6.5 million. For the first time ever, over 10,000 players signed up for the Main Event. As for Jones, this marked his sixth event, managing a ninth-place finish back in 2018. Jones was joined by 24 other Michiganders who finished in the top 1,507 for the $10,000 buy-in event.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments