High court opens door to sports betting


Ever since the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise opened the first casino 10 years ago, people have been asking, “When are you going to have sports betting?”

Up until Monday, enterprise officials could only say, “It’s not allowed under federal law.” The U.S. Supreme Court made a decision Monday that paves the way for states to allow sports betting. The answer now is, “We’re working on it.”

A 6-3 decision by the court has given the states the right to decide whether they will allow sports betting. Currently only Nevada allows sports betting. This overturns a law that has been on the federal books for 25 years and which has prohibited sports betting anywhere except Nevada. Brian Parrish, CEO of Navajo gaming, said officials are definitely interested in setting up sports betting at all four of the casinos in Arizona and New Mexico as soon as it can be approved.

Even with the Supreme Court ruling, however, it will be months before that can happen, he said, because the enterprise would have to change its gaming compacts with the two states before any sports betting can occur.

Once that happens, he foresees sports betting becoming a big hit at the tribal casinos and is talking about setting up a separate facility at each site to handle it. Allowing sports betting at the casinos, he said, will help other aspects of the gaming operations because a lot of sports betters will also play slots and other games of chance.

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Categories: News

About Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan has been writing about the Navajo Nation government since 1971 and for the Navajo Times since 1976. He is currently semi-retired and is living in Torrance, California, and continues to report for the Navajo Times.