Navajo gaming compact: Back to Square 1

By Colleen Keane
Special to the Times

SANTA FE, Feb. 27, 2014

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Navajo casino doors close. Jobs and investments are lost. Those are the fears, if a new gaming compact between the Navajo Nation and the state of New Mexico isn't approved in time to meet a June 2015 deadline.

Currently, there are two Navajo casinos recognized by the state -- Fire Rock and Northern Edge. The proposed compact would have allowed for three more in New Mexico.

But, last Wednesday, the New Mexico Senate voted against the Nation's gaming compact 31 to 10, which crushed the tribe's plans to move forward on federal approval and gaming development that included phasing in the new casinos over the next 15 years.

While it took more than two years for the Navajo Nation to negotiate a compact with Gov. Susana Martinez, it took about an hour for the senate to kill it. The day before, the house voted 36 to 30 to pass it.

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