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
Kill The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement
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: Tribes walk out of contract support cost meeting (8/29)
Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe spends $2.4M on property (8/29)
Mike Johanns: Retracing steps of great Ponca Chief Standing Bear (8/29)
Steven Newcomb: Racist mascot a sign of deeper problems in US (8/29)
Gila River Indian Community to see $77.6M from Cobell buy-back (8/29)
Energy boom linked to rise in human trafficking in Indian Country (8/29)
Navajo man heads up Native American Homelessness Task Force (8/29)
MPR: Red Lake Nation opposes liquor license near dry reservation (8/29)
Omaha Tribe signs agreement with EPA to improve utility services (8/29)
Las Vegas Paiute Tribe rejected 'gift' from NFL team's foundation (8/29)
DNA study finds distinct population of Native people in Arctic area (8/29)
Tribes closely watching Big Lagoon Rancheria casino land dispute (8/29)
Tohono O'odham Nation to build off-reservation casino in phases (8/29)
State questions Forest County Powatatomi Tribe's slot machines (8/29)
Quapaw Tribe eyes local support for commercial casino in Kansas (8/29)
Native Sun News: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
Cara Cowan Watts: Laying the groundwork for college scholarship (8/28)
Rudolph Ryser: Indigenous nations need leverage to bring change (8/28)
DOI extends $100M in Cobell buy-back offers on two reservations (8/28)
Cobell buy-backs could return over 38K acres to tribe in Montana (8/28)
Five-year-old Navajo boy sent home from school for his long hair (8/28)
Three charged with murder for death of Mississippi Choctaw man (8/28)
Lummi Nation seeks cooperation after ruling in treaty rights case (8/28)
Artist Gregg Deal takes on Indian mascots for performance piece (8/28)
Sports announcer won't use Washington NFL team's name on air (8/28)
Recruiter from Spokane Tribe's college selected for Peirone Prize (8/28)
California tribes support release of water to benefit salmon runs (8/28)
Southern Ute Tribe invests $2B in big energy production system (8/28)
County hires lobbying firm to oppose federal recognition reforms (8/28)
Tohono O'odham Nation breaks ground for off-reservation casino (8/28)
Cherokee Nation starts construction on casino at Indian allotment (8/28)
Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe responds to opponents in casino suit (8/28)
Jamul Band continues work on $360M casino after victory in court (8/28)
Editorial: Forest County Potawatomi Tribe ups ante in casino feud (8/28)
Ho-Chunk Nation launches outreach effort amid casino expansion (8/28)
Nebraska Supreme Court hears arguments over gaming initiative (8/28)
Tim Giago: Greedy lawyers and government ruin Cobell settlement (8/27)
Native Sun News: Facility in Montana set to house Indian inmates (8/27)
Gerald Gipp: National strategy needed to reform Indian education (8/27)
9th Circuit won't stop repatriation of Kumeyaay Nation ancestors (8/27)
Bill John Baker: Cherokee Nation puts youth to work for summer (8/27)
Gabe Galanda: Academia won't tackle tribal disenrollment issue (8/27)
Misty Lynn Ellingburg: 'Four Winds' is a literary magazine for us (8/27)
Declination rates for Indian Country crime steady for third year (8/27)
DOJ awards grants to address violence in Bakken energy region (8/27)
Another pipeline spills saltwater on reservation in North Dakota (8/27)
Navajo voters oust incumbent president Ben Shelly in primary (8/27)
Once rival factions of Chukchansi Tribe agree to 2015 election (8/27)
Three brothers on the ballot for Passamaquoddy Tribe election (8/27)
Daily Beast: Border Patrol runs free on Tohono O'odham Nation (8/27)
KTOO: Cook Inlet Tribe turns to video game to represent culture (8/27)
Former IHS information security officer convicted for child porn (8/27)
Crow Reservation murder defendant to make court appearance (8/27)
Texas authorities seek information about skull at Goodwill store (8/27)
Cherokee Nation police find man who disappeared 37 years ago (8/27)
9th Circuit sets oral arguments in Big Lagoon Rancheria dispute (8/27)
Forest County Potawatomi Tribe cuts gaming payment to state (8/27)
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.