indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
N.M. governor signs Navajo Nation gaming compact
Friday, November 7, 2003

The nation's largest tribe got one step closer to joining the $14 billion Indian gaming industry on Thursday with the approval of a compact by the state of New Mexico.

Navajo Nation leaders joined Gov. Bill Richardson (D) at the state capitol for the formal signing of the agreement, which limits gaming to To'hajiilee, an urban community located near Albuquerque. "It's an honor today to lend a hand to the Navajos of the To'hajiilee Chapter in a goal they've sought for many years - the ability as a sovereign nation to engage in Indian gaming," Richardson said.

To'hajiilee is more than 100 miles from the main Navajo Reservation, where the majority of residents in prior polls have objected to gambling for religious reasons. But To'hajiilee leaders have fought for the right to open a casino. With Albuquerque, the largest city in New Mexico, just 13 miles away, they see the potential for tapping into a market that nearly every other tribe in the state has benefited from in recent years.

Last quarter, the 11 of 13 tribes with compacts generated more than $107 million in slot machine revenues, a record amount. The figure doesn't include the revenues they earned on table games, hotels and other amenities at casino resorts that dot the state's landscape.

The majority, around 60 percent, of those revenues were generated by tribes in the Albuquerque area. Four Pueblos -- Acoma, Isleta, Sandia and Santa Ana -- have major facilities within driving distance of the city. Laguna Pueblo just opened a $60 million casino so figures aren't available from the tribe yet.

The To'hajiilee casino will be built on land near I-40, the major highway in the state. Its closest competitor would be Laguna's Route 66 Casino, also located along the interstate, which offers more than 1,200 slot machines, table games, a 3,000-seat auditorium and a nightclub and bar. The facility employs 1,200.

The exact size of the To'hajiilee casino is not yet decided. Tribal leaders say it will probably hold around 700 to 800 slot machines and could include a truck stop, hotel and restaurant. It is expected to employ up to 700 people.

The compact approved yesterday is identical to the ones signed by the other 11 tribes. It calls for the tribe to share up to 8 percent of its slot machine revenues with the state. Smaller facilities only pay 4 percent but the To'hajiilee casino probably won't qualify.

The compact, which expires in 2015, was signed by Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. in September. He signed it after the Navajo Nation Council, by a 59-13 vote, approved it earlier in the month.

"I think gaming is an alternative," he said at the September 19 signing.

According to a report published by The Navajo Times this week, former Navajo President Peter MacDonald Sr. introduced representatives of a gaming company to Navajo council delegates who handle economic development issues. MAC Gaming, based in Atlantic City, N.J., said the casino could cost $150 million and would gross $836 million in five years, the paper reported. The figures were based on a facility with 2,000 slot machines, 40 table games, a hotel, restaurants, and retail and entertainment venues, the paper said.

Before the project moves forward, the tribe needs approval from the Bush administration. Richardson and Navajo leaders believe the compact will pass muster because it is identical to ones the Department of Interior approved in 2001.

Those agreements were negotiated when the tribes refused to share revenues under an earlier agreement that the Clinton administration neither endorsed nor rejected. New Mexico attorney general Patricia Madrid took the tribes to court, and they agree to make back payments. Two tribes continue to resist and are engaged in litigation over the deal.

Relevant Links:
Navajo Nation - http://www.navajo.org

Related Stories:
N.M. tribes battle for share of casino audience (10/06)
Navajo president defends signing of gaming compact (09/23)
Navajo Nation signs compact for casino in N.M. (09/22)
Navajo Nation president considering gaming compact (09/08)
Navajo Nation council approves gaming compact (09/01)
Laguna Pueblo readies new $60M mega-casino (08/27)
N.M. tribes break another record on gaming revenue (08/08)
Navajo Nation committee approves gaming compact (08/07)
Navajo Nation left out of Indian gaming boom (07/28)

Copyright 2000-2003 Indianz.Com
More headlines...
Local Links:
Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
Latest News:
Native Sun News: Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe honors veterans (9/17)
Mark Trahant: Is independence in the future for tribal nations? (9/17)
Audio: SCIA takes up bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/17)
House approves bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/17)
House Natural Resources Committee sets markup on tribal bills (9/17)
House subcommittee to hold hearing on bill for Hualapai Tribe (9/17)
9th Circuit takes up Big Lagoon Rancheria gaming land dispute (9/17)
House passes bill to shield Gun Lake Tribe casino from litigation (9/17)
Andre Cramblit: Enjoying life at Dartmouth as a Native student (9/17)
Dina Gilio-Whitaker: Tribes need to lead climate change reform (9/17)
Sarah Deer wins genius grant for work to protect Native women (9/17)
Tex Hall loses bid for another term as chair of North Dakota tribe (9/17)
Group starts dragging of river in search of missing Native women (9/17)
Appeal filed over Navajo language ability of presidential hopeful (9/17)
Trial delayed for leader of Muscogee Nation accused in theft case (9/17)
Editorial: Pass bill to extend federal recognition to Virginia tribes (9/17)
NLRB reaffirms jurisdiction over Little River Band gaming facility (9/17)
Chumash Tribe to use labor unions for all work on casino project (9/17)
Student arrested over theft at Saginaw Chippewa Tribe's casino (9/17)
Native Sun News: Homeless students find support in Rapid City (9/16)
Checks from final payment of Cobell settlement put in the mail (9/16)
DOI offers $9.4M for Cobell buy-backs on Umatilla Reservation (9/16)
House takes up bill to address tribal general welfare programs (9/16)
Tribal leaders headed to Capitol Hill to push legislative priorities (9/16)
NMAI hosts symposium on treaties to coincide with new exhibit (9/16)
Witnesses: Hearing on bill to bar Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Rival tribes spend $13M to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (9/16)
Mark Charles: Trail of Tears sign points to much deeper problem (9/16)
Donna Ennis: Don't let ethnic imposters take away our identity (9/16)
Serial killer sentenced to life term for murder of Native woman (9/16)
Civil rights complaint filed over repeated denial of honor song (9/16)
Sen. Cantwell to introduce bill to end NFL's tax-exempt status (9/16)
House backs package to transfer federal land to Te-Moak Tribe (9/16)
Fort Belknap Tribe detained state game warden for trespassing (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe to open first Smashburger location in December (9/16)
Police in Ontario investigate letter that threatens Native people (9/16)
Urban Indian population grows in Brazil's poorest neighborhoods (9/16)
Indian family in Washington continues bid for casino on allotment (9/16)
Saginaw Chippewa Tribe challenges NLRB jurisdiction over casino (9/16)
Mohegan Tribe loses bid for commercial casino in Massachusetts (9/16)
Connecticut tribes see another decline in slot machine revenues (9/16)
Tim Giago: Standing tall for Native American Day in South Dakota (9/15)
Native Sun News: Northern Cheyenne man beaten by BIA officer (9/15)
Mark Trahant: Ten reasons why every Native person should vote (9/15)
Jay Daniels: Still waiting on that final Cobell settlement payment (9/15)
Vote set on bill to protect Gun Lake Tribe's casino from litigation (9/15)
HUD settles complaint for couple on Turtle Mountain Reservation (9/15)
Bryan Brewer: Approve HR3043 to stop IRS harassment of tribes (9/15)
Maryann McGovran: Vote for North Fork Rancheria's gaming deal (9/15)
Donna Ennis: Tribal banishments are a form of cultural genocide (9/15)
Steven Newcomb: Political meanings restrict indigenous peoples (9/15)
Bruce Anderson: Washington team name preserves stereotypes (9/15)
Column: DC-area Native people oppose NFL team's racist mascot (9/15)
House set to vote on bill to transfer federal land to Te-Moak Tribe (9/15)
more headlines...

Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.