Gaming machines at the at the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, owned and operated by the Navajo Nation near Flagstaff, Arizona. Photo: TwinArrowsAZ

Arizona lawmaker delays gaming bill after Navajo Nation objects

A bill to authorize keno games in Arizona has drawn objections from the Navajo Nation, Capitol Media Services reports.

At a January 31 hearing, an attorney for the tribe said SB1059 would violate the exclusivity provisions of the Class III gaming compact, according to the report. The agreements specifically treat keno as a Class III game.

A violation of the compact could lead to tribes withholding revenue sharing payments to the state. In the last quarter alone, they shared $15.5 million, according to the Arizona Department of Gaming. More than $1.3 billion has been shared since 2004.

The concerns prompted the bill's sponsor to withdraw it for the time being, Capitol Media Services reported. But Sen. Sonny Borrelli (R) is still interested in pursuing the idea, according to the report.

Borrelli was behind a similar keno bill last year. Tribes raised objections to that one too, The Arizona Republic reported at the time.

"Gaming has been one of the very few economic activities that has succeeded in Indian country. It has created tens of thousands of jobs," said Bernadine Burnette, the president of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the chairwoman of the Arizona Indian Gaming Association, The Republic reported. "It has allowed us to provide services to our tribal members that we could never have afforded before."

The keno games would be run by the Arizona Lottery if SB1059 becomes law.

Read More on the Story:
State-run ‘keno’ game hits snag (Capitol Media Services February 2, 2018)