Back in Black: Arizona Tribal Gaming Revenue on Rise for First Time Since 2007

Can it still be called a recession if Arizonans are dropping wads of cash into tribal casinos?

The state's still chock-full of empty storefronts and foreclosed homes, but state officials report the first increase in tribal gaming revenue since 2007.

After 10 consecutive quarters of negative numbers, the amount of contributions received by the state from casinos -- and, thus, the gaming revenue itself -- is finally back in black.

The state will collect $21.7 million for the quarter that ended September 30 -- a 1.1 percent increase over the same quarter last year, say officials from the Arizona Department of Gaming.

A news release states how the state contributions will be dealt out:

Instructional Improvement Fund/Education: $ 10,809,459 Trauma and Emergency Services Fund: $ 5,404,730 Arizona Department of Gaming operating costs: $ 1,951,949 Arizona Wildlife Conservation Fund: $ 1,544,208 State Tourism Fund: $ 1,544,208 Problem Gambling Education, Treatment and Prevention: $ 433,767 TOTAL tribal contributions for the quarter ended Sept 30, 2010: $ 21,688,321

Of course, this doesn't mean gaming revenue will definitely increase in this current quarter, because something important happened this month in the world of Arizona gaming:

The bridge.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.