The California Nations Indian Gaming Association
(CNIGA) has released its bi-annual economic impact study produced by
Beacon Economics, a premier leader in economic research.
found that tribal government gaming continues to be a positive economic
engine in the state of California. In 2014 the state’s tribal
government gaming generated $7.8 billion in economic output.
government gaming spent $4.0 billion in goods and services which
generated an additional $3.8 billion in secondary spending by vendors
that supply casinos. Tribal non-gaming operations in California – the
expenditures that tribal governments make in order to provide services
to the tribe and community – generated an estimated $3.3 billion in
Year after year, tribal gaming and
non-gaming activities generate an increasingly positive impact on
California’s labor markets. For example, in 2012, tribal gaming
operations supported approximately 56,100 jobs statewide. In 2014,
tribal gaming operations supported about 63,400 jobs statewide. In 2012,
tribal non-gaming operations supported approximately 14,800 jobs
statewide; in 2014, tribal non-gaming operations supported around 21,300
Said Council member and CNIGA
Chairman Steve Stallings, who is also a member of the Rincon tribal
council, “The economic and labor impacts are felt in the local
communities that surround tribal government gaming facilities. Across
the state, ninety percent of those employed by tribal governments are
non-tribal employees. Most of these facilities are in very remote and
economically depressed areas and the casinos are some of the biggest
employers in their regions. The salaries and benefits provided by our
members and their facilities exceed market wages for the same labor pool
“In addition, the salaries and
benefits provided by CNIGA members tribes exceed market wages for the
same labor pool in the state,” Stallings added.
2014 Southern California tribal casinos generated an estimated $4.4
billion in economic output. Of that total, $2.1 billion came from
secondary economic effects. Of the $4.4 billion in total economic output
generated, $2.8 billion represented value added to the economy of
Southern California, while casinos in the region generated an additional
$1.8 billion in total labor income.
and non-gaming operations serve an important role in state and local tax
revenue. In 2014, tribal gaming generated $39.2 million in state and
local tax revenues, while tribal non-gaming operations paid $80.3
million in state and local taxes. Employees and recipients of gaming
expenditures collectively and individually contribute millions of
dollars to each year to local sales, property and income tax revenues in
The report also noted that charitable
contributions from gaming tribes and their casinos underwrote an
estimated 542 jobs statewide and an estimated $137.9 million in
Stallings praised the tribes for
participating in the Beacon survey and analysis. “In the local
communities where Indian casinos exist the public is supportive because
of the integrity with which the tribes operate our casinos, work with
local governments, and share the benefits of our enterprises with our
neighbors. However, the Beacon Report is valuable because it gives the
tribes and all Californians an overall picture of our very impressive
industry and its collective impact on the state economy.”
in Northern California generated an estimated $3.2 billion in economic
output, of which $1.5 billion represented secondary economic effects. Of
the $3.2 billion in economic output these casinos generated $2.0
billion represented value added to Northern California region, while
$1.4 billion represented wages and earnings for Northern California
In the San Diego area the tribes have
earned a reputation for keeping promises. The tribes have earned high
ratings from neighbors and government officials, and at the same time
underscore statewide statistics with strong employee numbers and
“The tribes made promises to California
voters that we would use gaming revenues to become economically
self-sufficient, create jobs, take out people off welfare, build modern
governments that are responsible, and establish ourselves as good
neighbors,” said Rincon Chairman Bo Mazzetti, adding, “This year’s 2014
Beacon report shows that we have not only kept our promises, but
exceeded them by becoming one of the state’s major employers and
important economic and government partners in our local regions.”
Rincon takes economic leap of faith
2011, the Rincon government took an economic leap of faith, betting
$160 million that the stalled U.S. economy would recover and with it
bring a healthy surge of growth in California’s tribal casino market.
Rincon’s tribal council believed it was time to diversify the experience
at their Harrah’s property, investing in a second tower of guest rooms,
conference and entertainment center, outdoor pool and water play
features and nine new dining and beverage specialty venues.
April 2014 the tribe completed the second phase of the expansion and
opened the new property with a name change to Harrah’s Resort So Cal.
Rincon was the first tribe to begin to shape the future of tribal
government gaming by expanding into the resort and food and beverage
market, and the early decision to diversify has paid off. So did the
2013 $4.3 million investment Rincon made in construction of the Travel
Plaza, featuring the only 7-11 franchise owned by the band, a Subway
restaurant and Shell vehicle service station.
2012-2014 Harrah’s Resort remodel and new construction created 1,500 new
jobs, $99.9 million in new income for San Diego workers, $104 million
in goods and purchases, and $11.5 million in new state and federal
taxes. During 2013, the resort and casino employed 1,520 annually, with a
payroll including wages and benefits of $56.9 million. The band’s
enterprises played a significant role in underwriting local businesses
and kick starting the region’s economy with expenditures of $77.5
million for goods and services. Accounting for the ripple effect,
Harrah’s expenditures flowing into the local and state economy were $254
million with tax contributions of $7.8 million.
year 2016 was also very good for California tribal enterprises. Rincon
has contributed to increases in North County jobs, tourism,
entertainment, business, and meeting markets, and supported large and
small business through purchases of goods and services. Harrah’s
expenditures flowing into the local and state economy were $254 million
with tax contributions of $7.8 million.
Rincon saw growth in all areas. The government payroll was $8.3 million
and infrastructure investments were $1.7 million. Rincon-owned Travel
Plaza and 7-11 franchise has consistently ranked fifth among the
region’s 97 7-11 stores in the region.
to being the first tribe to diversify its economic base with a 7-11
franchise, the band also joined the microbrewery explosion, opening
SR76Beerworks. SR76Beerworks represents another first – the first
microbrewery owned by an American Indian tribe. Opened in December 2016,
the brewery is named after the state highway, running parallel to the
San Luis Rey River, which was once the home to Luiseno tribal villages.
The trails created by the Luiseno villagers would eventually become the
path of State Route 76, and, now great brewery suds named after travel
destinations along the highway.
include partnering with unique and successful specialty small
businesses, through Rincon’s First Nations Capital Partners (FNCP). To
support a tribal economic diversification strategy, Rincon assisted in
developing FNCP, a private equity fund organized in a partnership with
the Colusa Indian Community and Wells Fargo Bank. The band shares
results with the other partners. The portfolio now includes four robust
companies manufacturing diverse products.
Company is a manufacturer of plastic cards for many applications like
gift cards, casino cards, hotel room keys, and ATM cards. Everson
Cordage Works manufactures high quality twisted twines and ropes for
fishing, industrial, and commercial customers. Advance Adapters designs,
engineers, and manufactures Powertrain and Four Wheel Drive
According to Steve Stallings
and Tribal Treasurer Jim Murguia, this strategy has multiple benefits.
It creates revenue for the band, is insured through a credible financial
institution, and supports growth of small to medium-size businesses
with an infusion of capital.
“There are many solid,
sustainable, growth oriented businesses that get overlooked because
they may lack glamour, but which are the type of products and businesses
that are the foundation of the American economy,” noted Stallings.
to an established policy of sharing financial resources with neighbors
through a program of philanthropic giving, the Rincon Band annually
supports more than 250 non-profits and public programs annually. The
band takes pride in the tribal services such as the fire department,
paramedic, and ambulance services that also respond to calls from
neighboring communities. Every day, every minute the availability of
these services is saving lives and improving public safety in the
county’s rural-inland neighborhoods.