New Mexico lawmakers to consider Class III gaming compacts

 Fire Rock 
Navajo Casino in New Mexico
The Fire Rock Navajo Casino in New Mexico. Photo from Facebook

New Mexico lawmakers have received new Class III gaming compacts from Gov. Susana Martinez (R).

The agreement covers the Navajo Nation, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, the Mescalero Apache Nation and the Acoma Pueblo, whose compacts expire in June. But other tribes will also be able to sign on it in order to take advantage of more favorable revenue sharing provisions, The Albuquerque Journal reported.

The new deal also addresses a free play issue that had been in dispute. Additionally, it allows tribes to keep their casinos open non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A copy of the agreement was posted by the Committee on Compacts. It includes a potentially controversial provision regarding gaming on newly acquired lands.

The provision requires tribes to state that they will not engage in gaming on certain categories of newly acquired lands. But in the event a tribe wishes to go down that path, an entirely new compact will have to be negotiated to "address the unique circumstances and conditions associated with such lands."

The Fort Sill Apache Reservation in southern New Mexico. Photo © Fort Sill Apache Tribe.

The language would not prevent the Fort Sill Apache Tribe from signing the compact. But if the tribe ever gains approval to engage in gaming on its reservation in the southern part of the state, it would apparently have to negotiate another agreement.

The tribe's reservation was acquired in trust in 2002. The National Indian Gaming Commission contends the land can't be used for gaming but the tribe is suing in federal court to overturn that determination.

Get the Story:
Proposed compact tweaks gaming rules (The Albuquerque Journal 2/20)

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