New Agreement Will Allow Navajos to Expand in New Mexico


Posted: January 10, 2014

Updated: October 4, 2017

If lawmakers approve their proposal, the Navajos will be free to open any number of casinos in New Mexico.

The government of New Mexico is ready to cement its amicable relationship with the Navajos through an official agreement that would grant them the right to open as many casinos as they want, over the next 20 years. This is a deal governor Susana Martinez and members of the Navajo Nation discussed last year, but the proposal still has to be approved in the next legislative session.

Other Native American tribes have voiced concerns that their business might suffer from this agreement. Apparently, they fear competition from the Navajos as rumor has it they might be allowed to start opening new casinos in areas controlled by neighboring tribes.

Currently, the Navajo Nation has three gambling venues in New Mexico. Two of them are regulated under American gambling laws and one is unregulated, but features low stakes gambling.

New law to be passed soon

State lawmakers have asked the tribe to draw up the proposal or submit a new one and forward it to the Committee on Compacts by January 15. Lawmakers will discuss the details of the agreement before the beginning of the new legislative session on January 21.

Time is of the essence, as the legislative session only runs for 30 days and both sides expect the matter to be resolved as soon as possible. The committee will probably be lead by representative James Roger Madalen, who seems eager to resolve the issue.

In recent gambling news, the congressman stated: “It’s a short session, and the sooner the better, in my opinion. If we wait any longer, then we’re competing with time.”

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