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Study: Gambling Brings $1 Billion to Oregon

8 March 2005

SALEM, Oregon – As reported by the Oregonian: "Oregon tribal casinos pump more than $1 billion a year into the state's economy and help support more than 10,000 jobs, according to a new report commissioned by the tribes that will be released today.

"Tribal leaders, worried about competition from the Oregon Lottery and private casino proposals, produced the report in an attempt to demonstrate their economic importance, particularly in rural areas.

"'We have a place in this economy,' said Gary George, chairman of the Oregon Gaming Alliance, a consortium of nine tribes that operate casinos. 'We're trying to raise the awareness of Indian gaming and what it is all about.'

"The study was authored by Robert Whelan, a Portland economist for the ECONorthwest consulting firm who has followed the gambling business in Oregon for years. It says tribal gambling's impact ripples beyond the 5,300 casino-related jobs to include additional spending for tribal services and more business for suppliers and construction companies.

"The nine tribal casinos across the state range from Spirit Mountain Casino, with 1,500 slot machines and a Las Vegas-style atmosphere in the Coast Range, to the 150-terminal Old Camp Casino in the isolated southeastern town of Burns. Altogether, they generated a reported $189 million in profits in 2003 for the tribes.

"…The tribes have become concerned that their share of the market is vulnerable to competition from an expanding lottery and new casino proposals, including one close to the lucrative Portland market.

"…Whatever the future, the study concluded that the casinos have had a measurable effect on tribal members and nearby communities.

"…The report also found that casino workers on average made more than twice the wage of leisure and hospitality workers in the eight counties where the casinos operated in 2003.

"…George, the tribal alliance chairman, said some of the casinos also have spurred an important flow of money from the state's urban areas to more rural parts…"

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