Sunday October 27,2013 : NAVAHO WANT A BETTER CASINO DEAL IN NEW MEXICO
Prepared to eschew online gambling as part of any agreement.
The New Mexico state Legislature is set to consider changes to its tribal gambling compact with the Navaho Nation early next year…and the revision could include an agreement to eschew online gambling until the state decides to legalise the pastime.
The Navaho Nation is currently proposing a replacement compact for the current agreement, which expires in 2015. Among the tribe's demands are three more land casinos and potentially less revenue sharing, according to Associated Press news agency reports.
And as part of the new deal, the Navaho are prepared to stay away from online gambling in New Mexico unless or until the state Legislature makes it legal.
The Nation operates land casinos in New Mexico and Arizona and employs 950 people.
Navajo President Ben Shelly told members of the Legislative Finance Committee on Friday that revamping the existing compact would be a win for both his tribe and the state. A longer-term agreement with New Mexico would also make it easier to get outside financing for projects, he said.
The Navaho want to renegotiate the revenue-sharing agreement with New Mexico as part of the changes, sharing only an adjusted net win that would take into account pay-outs to customers who play for free with slot credits offered to draw in customers.
Applying pressure to state lawmakers, an attorney acting for the Navaho has declared that if a compact isn't reached by the expiration date, the tribe could cease any revenue sharing with New Mexico.
She pointed out that the National Indian Gaming Commission, a federal agency that oversees and regulates Indian gambling, could shut down Navajo-owned casinos if they are not part of a compact with the state.
"If the compact expires, this would devastate the Navajo Nation financially, as the slot lease agreements and contracts would be placed in jeopardy," she said.