Published January 1, 2002 | January 2002 issue
Expert blackjack players aren't the only ones reaping financial benefits from casinos. According to the Great Plains Gaming Association, an organization that represents 15 tribal nations and 19 casinos across a six-state region, North Dakota's economy has hit the jackpot, having received $500 million during 1997 to 2000 from five tribally owned casinos within the state. This figure, based on a North Dakota State University economic matrix, takes into account casino purchases and employee payroll, followed by an aggregate of household and retail spending and taxes. The casinos, located in New Town, Hankinson, Fort Yates, Spirit Lake and Belcourt, have created more than 2,000 full-time jobs, with a combined payroll of more than $30 million annually.
The primary functions of Indian gaming, according to the association's executive director, are to provide employment and economic development opportunities to areas that have historically faced the highest unemployment and least amount of economic development.