Compacts | Opinion
Valerie Spicer: Arizona tribes share $640M in gaming revenues

"This year marks 10 years since Arizona tribes signed new gaming compacts with the state of Arizona. These compacts provide an avenue for tribes to share gaming revenues with all Arizonans. As of September 2011, tribes have contributed more than $640 million to benefit education, trauma and emergency care, wildlife conservation and business development through tourism. These are real, hard dollars that have flowed to the state in good times and bad. In addition, tribal contributions fully fund the Arizona Department of Gaming, which is one of three entities that regulate tribal gaming, along with funding programs that work to prevent problem gambling.

Shared gaming revenues are deposited into the Arizona Benefits Fund, which has four areas of critical need. Each year tribes contribute 56 percent of shared revenues into the Instructional Improvement Fund, which is distributed directly to school districts throughout Arizona so local superintendents can decide how to spend their portion of the money. They’ve used the money to hire more teachers, improve reading skills and provide many educational programs for students and teachers.

The next significant amount, 28 percent, reimburses hospitals for uncovered trauma and emergency services. Ten years ago, hospitals in Arizona were on the verge of closing or dramatically limiting trauma care, because they couldn’t afford it. Tribal gaming money has enabled hospitals to staff and support this all-important service."

Get the Story:
Valerie Spicer: Tribes celebrate 10 years of sharing gaming revenue with Arizonans (The Arizona Capitol Times 2/6)

Also Today:
Tribal casinos’ payments to Arizona increasing (AP 2/3)