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Study says Idaho tribes have $1 billion economic impact on state

Idaho’s five Indian tribes employ nearly 5,000 people and generate annual sales in excess of $1 billion, a new study says.

The tribes hired Steven Peterson, a University of Idaho research economist, to do the analysis. It looked at employment in tribal government, casinos and other business enterprises during 2013 for the Coeur d’Alene, Kootenai, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone-Paiute tribes.

In terms of direct employment, the tribes collectively rank among Idaho’s 10 largest employers, with 4,641 workers, according to the study. The tribes also indirectly employ another 2,720 contract workers.

Tribal casinos generate gaming revenues of more than $820 million before payouts and prizes, the study said. Peterson said it’s difficult to put a precise number on casino visitors, but estimated that they exceed 500,000 annually. About 60 percent of those visitors are from out of state.

Peterson calculated the value of the goods and services produced by tribal governments and business enterprises at $653 million. Annual sales transactions topped $1.1 billion, including the multiplier effect from that money being re-spent.

Becky Kramer
Becky Kramer covers business news.

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