Proposed Navajo Gaming Compact Would Authorize Five Casinos in New Mexico

The Navajo Nation currently operates two Class III facilities in New Mexico under a gaming compact that expires in 2015. Approval of a new gaming compact on the table would authorize five Class III facilities on the Navajo side of the reservation in the state. The compact, which would extend through 2037, additionally includes provisions pertaining to revenue sharing and Internet gaming.

Some lawmakers and neighboring tribes, however, have responded to the deal with opposition and complaints, reported the Albuquerque Journal. The pact not only presents new competition for nearby gaming tribes, they are also concerned about some unfavorable terms in the agreement between the tribe and Gov. Susana Martinez' s office creating a precedent for other tribal-state gaming compacts.

The anticipated chair of the Legislature’s Committee on Compacts, Rep. James Roger Madalena (D), whose district includes Jemez Pueblo, plans to start discussions on the Navajo-state gaming compact by January 20.

“It’s a short session, and the sooner the better, in my opinion. If we wait any longer … then we’re competing with time,” Madalena told the Albuquerque Journal.

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