Tribal Enterprise Jobs, Purchasing Boost Minnesota’s Economy

15 September 2016

St. Paul, MN–A study released September 15 by the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association (MIGA) reports that the state’s tribal casinos account for more than 26,800 direct and indirect jobs statewide and a total economic impact of almost $1.8 billion dollars.

The job numbers include 13,371 gaming and ancillary jobs, as well as 1,916 non-gaming jobs on and off the reservation. Indirect and induced employment accounts for another 11,097 jobs, bringing the total to 26,384. Tribal government jobs, which were estimated at over 6,000 in a 2007 study, were not included in this study.

MIGA Executive Director John McCarthy said this study is the first to examine the impact of tribally owned non-gaming businesses located both on and off the reservation.

“As Indian gaming has matured, tribes have begun to focus on diversifying their economies beyond gaming and outside reservation boundaries,” he said. “Many tribes are now operating enterprises that create jobs and pay taxes in their local communities. That makes them even more valuable as economic assets to Minnesota.”

Other highlights of the study:

  • Tribal gaming and non-gaming enterprises on and off the reservation pay over $0.5 billion in wages and benefits, and generate approximately $126 million in payroll taxes annually. When indirect and induced impacts are included, total wage earnings from tribal enterprises exceed $1 billion.
  • Tribal enterprises account for over $717 million in annual purchases for goods and services, $482 million of which is paid to Minnesota vendors.
  • Since Indian gaming began in Minnesota, tribes have invested more than $2.5 billion in their gaming and non-gaming enterprises both on and off the reservation, including almost $200 million in 2015, and are projecting another $300 million in capital investment in 2016-2017.
  • Minnesota tribal casinos attract almost 23 million visitors each year, making them the 2nd largest tourist attraction in the state, second only to the Mall of America.
  • 9 percent of all tribal enterprise employees are full-time. Approximately 50 percent are women; nearly 30 percent are Native Americans and another 10 percent are other minorities.

MIGA Chairman Charles Vig, who also serves as Chairman of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, said the tribes are proud of their sustained contribution to Minnesota’s economy.

“Indian gaming has become much more than a tool for tribal development and revitalization,” Vig said. “Thanks to gaming revenues, some tribes are now in a position to invest not only in our own communities, but in our neighbors as well. That means more job opportunities for a diverse work force, more tax revenues for local jurisdictions, and more economic progress for all Minnesotans.”

The new study, conducted by KlasRobinson QED, was commissioned by MIGA as part of its commemoration of the 25th anniversary of Minnesota’s gaming compacts, which were negotiated and signed between 1989 and 1991. The full report is available here.