New Mexico tribes weren't involved in off-reservation casino bid

An exhibit, 100 Years of State & Federal Policy: The Impact on Pueblo Nations, on display at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo from Facebook

Pueblo tribes in New Mexico weren't ever a part of a proposed off-reservation casino in downtown Albuquerque.

Geltmore LLC, a private company, wanted to build a casino, hotel and event center. But the developer never actually approached any of the tribes about the project despite mentioning four of them -- Sandia Pueblo, Isleta Pueblo, Laguna Pueblo and Santa Ana Pueblo -- in the proposal, The Albuquerque Journal reported.

Nevertheless, Mayor Richard J. Berry passed over the project in choosing a bowling alley to be located on city-owned land. The casino would have faced numerous hurdles at the state and federal level.

“It just wasn’t the proposal that the mayor had articulated through his vision and goals for the Downtown area – nothing against casinos,” Gilbert Montaño, Berry’s chief of staff, told the Journal.

No tribe in New Mexico has ever received approval for an off-reservation casino under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. The Bureau of Indian Affairs is still reviewing a proposal from Jemez Pueblo for a project in the southern part of the state.

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