Tribal casinos are now gambling powerhouses | KUOW News and Information

Tribal casinos are now gambling powerhouses

Jan 26, 2017

Growth is happening in many industries across the region. In Marysville for example the Tulalip Casino is now the center of shopping and housing developments.

It's part of the reason Marysville is the fastest-growing big city in Western Washington. But the role of tribal casinos is larger than that.


Tribal casinos have transformed the gambling business. Twenty years ago Washingtonians mostly mucked around with pull-tabs and punch-cards.

Back then the gambling businesses took in half a billion dollars a year. Tribal casinos took in just a small fraction of that.

That's changed. In the 1990s tribal casinos were given the sole right to operate machines that look like the kind of slots you'd see in Las Vegas.

Today the tribal casinos have become glittering entertainment centers. That's helped swell the gambling business to a $3 billion industry.

According to the state gambling commission, the tribal casinos own the lion's share, 80 percent. Last year tribal casinos netted more than $2 billion from gambling.