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Posted: Apr 20, 2010  15:15

The 2009 Economic Impacts of the Five Tribes of Idaho on Idaho's Economy: Executive Summary Introduction


This report summarizes the results of a study, The Economic Impacts of the Five Tribes of Idaho on Idaho's Economy. It was sponsored jointly by the Five Tribes of Idaho and will be fully completed and made available later this spring. The study's principal investigator is Steven Peterson, Research Economist and Instructor, Department of Business, University of Idaho, who has more than 20 years experience in regional economic modeling. This study also complements regional economic impact analyses that are being finalized for the Coeur d'Alene Tribe, Kootenai Tribe, Nez Perce Tribe, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and Shoshone Paiute Tribes. While a similar collective study of the five tribes' economies was conducted by Mr. Peterson in 2002, this is the first ever economic impact study with the full participation of Idaho's five tribes.


  • The Five Tribes of Idaho have increased total employment statewide by 10,516 jobs including the multiplier effects (i.e. the direct, indirect and induced impacts).

  • Total sales from tribal economic activity exceeds $850 million annually including the multiplier effects.

  • The Five Tribes of Idaho have raised gross state product (value-added) by $487.3 million dollars on average, which represents nearly 1 percent of the gross state product.

  • New tourist traffic to tribal casinos is estimated at more than 500,000 people per year, an estimated 50 percent are from out of state, representing new dollars to the state economy.

Economic Role of the Five Tribes on the Economy of the State of Idaho

The Five Tribes of Idaho have an important, rapidly growing, economic impact on the economy of the State of Idaho. Indian tribes in the United States have a unique status as sovereign nations. Tribes have their own tribal governments, health and education services, police forces, judicial systems, economic development projects, gaming casinos and resorts, agricultural operations, retail trade and service businesses, cultural and social functions, and other important regulatory activities. Consequently, Indian tribes have significant economic and social impacts on their tribal reservations, and the regions surrounding those reservations. Combined, the tribes have a significant economic and social impact on the State of Idaho.

Key Findings: Direct Economic Effects

Total direct tribal government revenues/expenditures from all tribes located in Idaho was approximately $211.4 million for 2009.

Tribal enterprise revenues/expenditures were $444.0 million. In total direct revenues/expenditures were $655.4 million for 2009.

These numbers represent the actual spending of all tribal operations.

Direct tribal employment is the sum of the total employees of the Five Tribes of Idaho. The tribal governments employ approximately 1,519 workers. The casinos and related operations employ 1,712 workers; tribal enterprises-216 workers; housing operations-89 workers; health clinics-425 workers; and other- 82 workers. In total, the Five Tribes of Idaho directly employ 4,043 employees, collectively making them one of the top 10 employers in Idaho. In addition, the Tribes create additional outside direct employment through contracts and related operations, totaling 2,326, which includes construction, the hospitality industry and service industry employment. In total, the Five Tribes of Idaho are responsible for 6,369 direct employees not including the multiplier effects (i.e. indirect and induced impacts).

The tribal gaming facilities have approximately 3,710 video gaming machines and 317 available hotel rooms. Cumulative gross casino revenue operating expenses was more than $167.8 million for 2009 before costs and operating expenses, with over $617.2 million of gaming revenues being paid out in cash and prizes for a total gross revenue of $785 million.

In total, the Five Tribes of Idaho own over 1,019,149 million acres and have 9,604 members living in Idaho. If compared with Idaho's total 44 counties, the Five Tribes of Idaho would be ranked 20th place in terms of land area. The tribes have over 180,984 acres in cultivation in Idaho producing direct revenues/expenditures of $92.2 million annually.

The tribes donated approximately $2.6 million to Idaho charities and schools in 2009.

Key Findings: Economic Impacts

An IMPLAN input/output model was created to estimate the economic impacts of the Five Tribes on the State of Idaho. IMPLAN is a well-established, widely used economic modeling software. Economic impacts are calculated separately for each of the tribal functional divisions. New monies (i.e. base activities) brought into Idaho from tribal economic activities drive economic impacts.

Multipliers are calculated and they determine how the direct change in exports (final demands) of a single tribal industry ripples throughout all the other industries in Idaho.

Economic Impacts Total Tribal Activities Including Multiplier Effects

When the estimated impacts are aggregated, the sum of all of the direct, indirect, and induced effects in 2009 for all Tribal activities (Figure 1) are:
$852.7 million in sales
$487.3 million in value-added (gross state product)
$325.4 million in earnings (payroll)
$23.7 million in sales taxes, property taxes, and excise taxes 10,516 jobs

If the Five Tribes of Idaho are compared (by rankings) with the economies of the counties of Idaho, they would rank 23rd out of total 44 Idaho counties in terms of sales; 17th place in terms of total jobs; 17th place in terms of earnings (payroll); and 29th place in terms of indirect business taxes.

The economic impact of the tribes created approximately $7.5 million in state income tax payments in 2009 income generated from all tribal economic activities, including the multiplier effects.


Sales: the total transactions in dollars from direct and indirect tribal economic activity. Earnings: The wage/salary and proprietors' income to individuals. Valueadded (value-output): This is a measure of gross domestic product at the state level. Jobs: The total employment resulting from tribal economic activity. Indirect Taxes: All taxes generated from tribal economic activity excluding personal and corporate income taxes. Direct spending represents the actual sales, income, and jobs from tribal operations. Indirect impacts are the downstream economic impacts on sales, income, jobs, and indirect taxes in the regional economy from direct spending.

Induced impacts are the downstream effects of employee and consumer spending on the economy.


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