Published November 1, 2008 | November 2008 issue
Regardless of the state's struggling economy, Wisconsin residents seem willing to pull on one-armed bandits.
Gaming revenues at the state's 27 tribal casinos rose by 7 percent, to $1.3 billion, in 2007, according to an August report by a Los Angeles industry consultant. That's significantly better than tribal gaming growth in neighboring Minnesota, which saw its 34 facilities post growth of less than 1 percent, according to the report. Nationally, tribal gaming grew by about 5 percent.
Part of the reason for the increased revenue in Wisconsin might be an 8 percent increase in gaming machines at tribal casinos last year alone. More growth is coming. As of September, at least six expansion projects were either proposed or already under construction. Gaming growth helped the Ho-Chunk Nation, one of the state's largest casino operators, finalize a new 25-year gaming compact with the state, including a $60 million payment for past payments that it had previously withheld.
—Ronald A. Wirtz