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The KUNM news team's coverage of the 2020 legislative session and its impacts

Future Of Navajo Gaming Compact In Question

Bobby C. Hawkins
Creative Commons

A Gaming compact between the Navajo Nation and the State of New Mexico failed to receive a vote by the state legislature before the end of session. With no agreement in place between the Nation and the State, the Navajo gaming industry could now be at risk, as well as nearly a thousand jobs.

The current Navajo Nation Gaming Compact is set to expire in 2015. However, with the states next legislative session focused only on budget matters, tribal officials say there will be no chance for the bill to be heard next year, leading to an expiration of the agreement.

In other words, come 2015, the Navajo Nation will likely have to find another way to continue gaming operations in New Mexico at it's two casinos, without an existing gaming compact with the state.
Under the new proposed compact, New Mexico would have received an increased percentage of revenue - nearly 10% of casino slot machine profits - while the Navajo Nation would be allowed to build up to three more Vegas Style casinos within the state.

The Navajo Nation began negotiations for the new compact with New Mexico in 2008, and the plan was met with some resistance, from other tribes and Pueblos, who could be forced to compete with new casinos.

Officials say in the wake of a recession and automatic federal budget cuts, New Mexico should keep an open mind about where money comes from, and continue helping programs at a tribal level.