Indian Casinos Steal a Page from Vegas
Indian casinos in the US may have started with humble beginnings, but many are now growing into lavish resort-style entertainment centers that rival even what Las Vegas has to offer.
The business for US casinos operated by Indian tribes has grown into a $25 billion per year business, with well over 200 Indian tribes (about 40% of all the tribes in the US) now offering some form of gambling.
First launched in the 1970s, early Indian casinos in Florida and California got their start by operating bingo halls, often utilitarian, spartan affairs in warehouses that offered little in the way of glitz or glamor.
Tribes have now expanded to offer a wide range of casinos and gambling options, although many still remain relatively small operations that appeal to locals instead of trying to compete head-to-head with mega casinos in Vegas or Atlantic City.
Some Indian casinos, though, are stepping up to the challenge including the Casino del Sol near Tucson that is just completing a new $130 million expansion that included adding a 215-room hotel and more than 65,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.
Other casinos have expanded to offer high end restaurants, golf courses, shopping centers, and other entertainment options to give guests far more to do than just double down at blackjack or take a spin at slots.
While larger casinos have struggled with the recent recession in the US many tribe casinos have actually seen revenues grown, with more local players skipping trips to Vegas and gambling closer to home instead.