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Alabama Tribal Gambling Revenue Up, California's Down

Tribal gaming is up across the US, with tribe's in many states using their federal recognition to open casinos around the country. Alabama has one of the fastest growing tribal gaming industries, while California tribe's continue to see decreased profits.

In the latest Indian Gaming Industry Report, California tribe's, which operate 66 casinos, won $6.8 billion in 2010. That was a decreased of around 2.5 percent from 2009. It was the third straight year that revenue has dropped at California tribal casinos, but the percentage of decrease was not as drastic as in previous years.

California tribe's are hopeful that new casinos that have opened over the past couple of years will help end the revenue drought. With competition stiff within the gaming industry, tribal casinos understand what is needed to stay ahead.

"They're in areas where there wasn't any gaming before," said Alan Meister, the author of the Indian Gaming Industry Report. "It's closer to the people. It can be a day trip. It does not need to be a weekend in Vegas or Atlantic City."

While California tribal casinos have struggled, Alabama appears to be the fastest growing tribal gaming state in the nation. The Poarch Creek Indian Tribe is the only one in Alabama, and revenue for Poach Creek Gaming rose 61 percent in 2010. The tribe also led the nation in 2009 with an increase of 34 percent, and 2008, increasing 45 percent.

The recent rise in action in Alabama for the Poach Creek tribe can be traced to the closure of several of the states largest entertainment gaming halls. Country Crossings and VictoryLand were both closed after then-Governor Robert Riley set up a Task Force on Illegal Gambling to rid the state of what the governor felt was illegal gaming machines.

VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor was acquitted last week of gambling corruption charges, and he asserted shortly after the acquittal that he intends on reopening VictoryLand in the near future.

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