Compacts

Nearly every New Mexico tribe operating with 'approved' gaming compact




The Santa Ana Star Casino in New Mexico. Photo: John Phelan

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has allowed another Class III gaming compact to take effect in New Mexico.

The agreement for Santa Ana Pueblo became effective on December 30. According to a notice in the Federal Register, the compact is considered to be "approved" but only to the extent its provisions are consistent with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

Santa Ana now joins 15 other tribes in the Land of Enchantment with "approved" compacts. That's the most of any state, a milestone in the history of Indian gaming.

It also means every gaming tribe in New Mexico except one is operating with an "approved" compact. The holdout is Pojoaque Pueblo, whose leaders have resisted a new agreement because they consider the revenue sharing provisions to be illegal.

The BIA in fact raised similar concerns when it first reviewed the compact back in 2015. Then-assistant secretary Kevin Washburn said he was "troubled by the apparent increase in revenue sharing rates" but allowed the agreement to take effect because tribes said they were satisfied with the provisions.

Washburn departed the Obama administration in December of that year to return to a position at the University of New Mexico School of Law. By the time he left, he let 13 gaming compacts in the state take effect. The final three took effect in 2016.

Federal Register Notices:
Indian Gaming; Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compacts Taking Effect in the State of New Mexico (December 30, 2016)
Indian Gaming; Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact Taking Effect in the State of New Mexico (April 4, 2016)
Indian Gaming; Notice of Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compact Taking Effect in the State of New Mexico (April 4, 2016)
Indian Gaming; Tribal-State Class III Gaming Compacts Taking Effect in the State of New Mexico (December 29, 2015)
Indian Gaming [Pueblo of Laguna] (October 23, 2015)
Indian Gaming [Pueblo of Tesuque] (October 23, 2015)
Indian Gaming [Pueblo of Santa Clara] (October 23, 2015)
Indian Gaming [Pueblo of Zuni] (August 14, 2015)
Indian Gaming [Ohkay Owingeh] (August 13, 2015)
Indian Gaming [Pueblo of Taos] (July 30, 2015)
Indian Gaming [Pueblo of Isleta] (July 28, 2015)
Indian Gaming [Jicarilla Apache Nation, Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Acoma, and Pueblo of Jemez] (June 22, 2015)

Relevant Documents:
BIA Deemed Approved Letter (June 9, 2015)

Related Stories:
Pojoaque Pueblo disputes state's 'illegal tax' on gaming revenues (05/11)
Two more Class III gaming compacts in New Mexico go into effect (04/05)
BIA allows another New Mexico gaming compact to go into effect (01/04)
BIA allows more New Mexico gaming compacts to go into effect (10/28)
BIA allows two more New Mexico gaming deals to go into effect (08/13)
BIA allows two more New Mexico gaming deals to go into effect (07/30)