Tribal gaming revenues hit $2 billion for Arizona

By Christina Estes
Published: Saturday, June 10, 2023 - 12:05pm

Desert Diamond West Valley casino
Casey Kuhn/KJZZ
Inside the Desert Diamond West Valley casino in 2015.

Tribal gaming in Arizona reaches a major milestone. The Arizona Indian Gaming Association said the state has received $2 billion in gaming revenue and an official recording of the amount is expected in July.

For nearly 20 years, tribes have shared a portion of their gaming revenues with the state. 

“Funding to offer free vision screening for 7,000 children, purchase of sporting equipment, active shooter rescue task force, park shades, the lists go on and on,” said Judy Ferreira, a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe and executive director of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association.

Funds are dedicated to wildlife conservation, tourism, cities and counties, emergency services and trauma care, and the largest chunk to education- so far, nearly $900 million.

Robert Miguel, chairman of the Ak-Chin Indian Community, recently told the Maricopa Association of Governments that gaming revenue makes higher education more attainable.

“We’ve seen a lot of these young kids that have gone on to college become respectful professions in their respective field,” he said.

Sixteen tribes operate casinos in Arizona. The 25th casino is scheduled to open later this month near Chandler. A groundbreaking for the 26th casino was held in April in the northwest Valley.