A study on the economic impact of tribal casinos in Arizona shows hundreds of millions of dollars from gaming revenue have gone to fund state services in the past decade.
The study, commissioned by the Arizona Indian Gaming Association, says that revenue has helped other state programs operate.
It has been 10 years since voters approved the last proposition to allow tribal gaming in Arizona, said Valerie Spicer, executive director of the gaming association. That ballot measure included a fund to which the tribes contribute a percentage of their gaming revenue, she said.
In that decade, tribal gaming generated more than $850 million for the fund, according to the association's report. For the fiscal year that ended in June 2012, the fund took in $97.3 million, according to the report.
Money in the fund goes to education, tourism, state regulation of tribal gaming, assistance for problem gambling and trauma centers, she said.
"All of those things are benefiting from tribal gaming dollars," Spicer said, adding that money makes a difference.
"We spoke with Dr. (Peter) Rhee, from the University Medical Center, who stated that had it not been for tribes identifying trauma as one of their recipients back in 2002 that Level One trauma care stood to possibly be shut down without those dollars," Spicer said.
The report says tribal casinos employ more than 15,000 people, who pay income, sales and other taxes which also benefit the state.
"When you look at the employment numbers and the goods and services and the economic development that has transpired as a result of the gaming, that makes a difference to all of Arizona," Spicer said.
The Tohono O'odham and Pascua Yaqui tribes employ about 3,200 people in casinos, according to the report.