The amount of money Arizona gets from tribal gaming is on the rise. Director of the Arizona Department of Gaming Mark Brnovich shares the latest numbers.
Ted Simons: the amount of money that the state gets from tribal gaming operations is on the rise. Here with the numbers is mark brnovich, director of the Arizona department of gaming. Thanks for joining us.
Mark brnovich: thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: how much do these contributions contribute to the state?
Mark brnovich: cumulatively since the gaming exacts were passed by the voters in 2002, the number is $700 million. But in the last fiscal year, the numbers last year $78 million and we will exceed that with this fiscal year ends in june 30. So the numbers are up.
Ted Simons: latest quarter sounds like numbers are up as well year to year.
Mark brnovich: they are. Year to year number is about $7.4 -- 7.4%. This is the seventh consecutive quarter of increases. Revenues had bottomed out and really troughed out about 2008, through middle of 2010. And now we have seen steady increasing. Slight increases but steady increases.
Ted Simons: is that an economic indicator that things are doing a little better throughout for everyone so they can head on to the casino?
Mark brnovich: i think we generally accept that gambling is done with discretionary income in indian country. Folks visit indian casinos with their discretionary dollars. So when you see these increases that means i think people are feeling more confident about the economy, and they have more money to spend and they are willing to spend it at the tribal gaming facilities.
Ted Simons: all this money, where does it go?
Mark brnovich: the Arizona department of gaming administers the gaming fund. The tribes are required by the gaming exacts to contribute 11 and 8% of their net gaming revenue to the benefits fund. That benefit fund goes to everything from the educational improvement fund, the emergency services and trauma fund, the wildlife fund and the tourism fund always well as funding the department of gaming.
Ted Simons: looks like $12 million this last year, i believe. Thinks the last quarter number?
Mark brnovich: that is last quarter.
Ted Simons: $12 million for education, $6 million for trauma and emergency service, $2 million for your operations, i should say, the gaming department. Conservation $1.7 and for treatment and education and programs for problem gambling, there is somewhat like half a million dollars.
Mark brnovich: right. Our office does administer the office of problem gaming is located in the department of gaming. There are social costs associated with gambling and it's something that we try address in the office of problem gambling. There's 1-800 help line, next step available for problem gamblers.
Ted Simons: have you seen that being used as much? When this first started a lot of folks were concerned about that. Have you seen people using this as much as maybe they had thought they would early?
Mark brnovich: well, what we have seen within the department is that lately there has been an increase in the number of folks that have reached out for treatment to deal with problem gambling. Now, there's always that question. Is that because more information is being provided? And there's more service providers? Especially when gaming first started. When it first started up hire even a decade ago there weren't a lot of treatment providers so you were seeing more treatment providers and more opportunities for treatment. Is it a chicken and egg thing? Or is it because there's month problem gamblers?
Ted Simons: what are you seeing as far as revenue now as pop owes opponent possessed to when the tribal casinos first started up? During boom-boom years in the mid five, six, seven years ago. I'm guessing they were pretty high.
Mark brnovich: we have not reached the numbers that were there in 2006, 2007, 2008. Those numbers were tribal gaming revenues were really, really high. But like as i said earlier we are starting to inch back up and we are starting to slowly get back there. Of course, the question ass also is that what happens if the economy not only here, worldwide, you see what's going on in greece. Are they going to default? Spain and so what impact does that have? What impact does the expiration of the tax cuts have? We need wait and see whether we are fully out of this. This is one of those we slowly start to creep out of this recession, the question is will this economic recovery continue or not? And obviously if it doesn't recover it will affect a lot of people including gaming revenue.
Ted Simons: last question. I know these numbers are base, you said 1 to 8% of class 3 revenue goes to the state and cities and towns. What is class 3 gaming revenue?
Mark brnovich: class 3 gaming revenue is essentially the casino revenue, casino games. The slot machines, the blackjack, the bank poker games. That's class 3 gaming. This goes back to the indian gaming regulatory act that created these distinction. Class 2 is bingo like games.
Ted Simons: very good. The numbers are up and they look to have been up for, seven, what, seven straight quarters? Good to have the numbers. Good to have you here.
Mark brnovich: thank you, ted. Thank you very much.
Ted Simons: tuesday on "Arizona horizon," how much county wildfires that have ravaged the state in recent years be tied to the way we manage our forests? We'll take a look at policies, practices and efforts to reform forest management. Tuesday at 5:30 and 10:00 right here on "Arizona horizon." that is it for now. I'm ted simons. Thank you so much for joining us. And you have a great evening.
Mark Brnovich:Director, Arizona Department of Gaming;