"This study has shown that tribal gaming in California has improved social and economic outcomes on tribal lands and in surrounding areas," researchers wrote in the report. "Benefits include significant increases in incomes and educational attainment and reductions in poverty, especially in the poorest regions of the state."
UCR researchers report reduced poverty and higher incomes on and near gaming reservations.
The number of families living in poverty on the state’s gaming reservations dropped from 36 percent in 1990 to 26 percent in 2000, the researchers found. Even so, poverty rates were more than twice as high as the state and national averages.
“This study is important because it is the first to present the impacts of gaming on economic development for every tribe in California and their surrounding communities,” Marks said. “These findings show that it is a myth to think that all tribal members have become millionaires or that casinos are a drain on their surrounding communities. Incomes on reservations are still well below the national average. Still, the improvements in poverty rates and incomes on reservations with casinos are impressive.”