Arizona’s tribal casinos are thriving. A great indicator of that is tribal gaming contributions to the state set a record in fiscal year 2022, which ended in June.
Tribes contributed an incredible $123.6 million to the Arizona Benefits Fund from July 2021 through June 2022, with $15.1 million of the amount going directly to counties, cities, and towns in Arizona.
The $38.4 million contributed in the fourth quarter of FY 2022 (April 1 through June 30) pushed the total for the year to record heights.
Record contribution reflects growth of gambling across US
Sixteen tribes operate a total of 24 Class III casinos across Arizona. Arizona online casinos are still prohibited from using real money. Until that changes, sweepstakes and social casinos are available that offer casino game action.
The boost in contributions from Arizona casinos matches the widespread growth of gambling across the nation. The more money that goes to the Arizona Benefits Fund (ABF), the more good that can be done.
Ted Vogt, director of the Arizona Department of Gaming, told the Arizona Indian Gaming Association that FY2022 was a tremendous year for gaming in Arizona.
“I am ecstatic to see the highest levels of tribal contributions to the state following the Amended Tribal-State Gaming Compact signed by Gov. Ducey last year. With over $21 million more in total contributions to the Arizona Benefits Fund when compared to the next highest fiscal year, it is safe to say 2022 was historic for Arizona tribal gaming.”
Tribal contributions came from 24 AZ casinos
Out of the 22 federally recognized Native American tribes in Arizona, 16 of them operate 24 full-service casinos. The six tribes that do not run casinos lease their slot machine rights to the tribes with casinos.
Here’s a list of the 16 tribes and their 24 casinos, in alphabetical order by tribe:
- Ak-Chin Indian Community: Harrah’s Ak-Chin Hotel & Casino
- Cocopah Indian Tribe: Cocopah Casino Resort
- Colorado River Indian Tribes: Blue Water Resort & Casino
- Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation: We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center
- Fort Mojave Indian Tribe: Spirit Mountain Casino
- Fort Yuma-Quechan Tribe: Paradise Casino
- Gila River Indian Community: Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino; Lone Butte Casino; Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino
- Navajo Nation: Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort
- Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona: Casino of the Sun; Casino del Sol Resort
- Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community: Casino Arizona; Talking Stick Resort
- San Carlos Apache Tribe: Apache Gold Casino Resort; Apache Sky Casino
- Tohono O’odham Nation: Desert Diamond Casino West Valley; Desert Diamond Tucson; Desert Diamond Sahuarita
- Tonto Apache Tribe: Mazatzal Casino
- White Mountain Apache Tribe: Hon-Dah Resort Casino & Conference Center
- Yavapai-Apache Nation: Cliff Castle Casino Hotel
- Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe: Yavapai Casino; Bucky’s Casino
Tribal casino dollars pay for several services in Arizona
So, how is the money in the ABF spent by the state?
88% of contributions from tribal casinos go to the ABF, while the remaining 12% goes to counties, cities, and towns in Arizona.
Money in the ABF goes toward:
- Emergency services
- Wildlife conservation and restoration
The largest share of the ABF, 56%, goes to the Instructional Improvement Fund. It helps reduce classroom sizes, increase teacher salaries, fund dropout prevention programs, and also fund instructional improvement programs.
The second biggest portion, 28%, goes to the Trauma and Emergency Services Fund. Those dollars go to hospitals to pay the costs of unrecovered trauma centers and also emergency services.
The third and fourth programs, wildlife conservation and tourism, each receive an 8% share of the ABF.
The Arizona Benefits Fund is a great example of what regulated and licensed gambling can do for a state.