Hopis sign gaming agreement with Ariz.


The Hopi Tribe last week became the 22nd tribe in Arizona to sign a gaming compact with the state of Arizona.

The Hopis for years have been the only tribe in Arizona not to go into gaming. Internal disputes delayed any decision.

The compact that was approved with the state gives the Hopis the right to have 900 gaming machines or to lease them out to other tribes in the state. The Navajo Nation leased out hundreds of machines for years, getting several hundred thousand dollars in return, before taking them back to use at its Twin Arrows Navajo Casino.

“Because the Hopi Tribe faces such an uncertain financial future, I believe providing opportunities and a path to prosperity for our people is of the highest importance,” said Chairman Herman G. Honanie.

With the closing of the Navajo Generating Station and presumably the Kayenta Coal Mine in 2019, the tribe stands to lose about 80 percent of its revenue.

“Having a gaming compact gives our tribe the opportunity to generate millions of dollars in much-needed revenue and a way to join our sister tribes in sharing the financial success gaming has meant all across Indian Country,” he said.

The compact, which is good for 20 years, still has to be approved by the federal government but this is a formality.

The tribe has not said what it plans to do after the compact gets final approval.

There is a lot of opposition within the tribe to having a casino on tribal land but the Hopis do own land off the reservation, including land adjacent to the Twin Arrows casino.

Officials at the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise have stated in the past that they doubt the Hopis would build a casino near Twin Arrows because to do so they would have to spend more than $150 million in order to build a casino that could compete.

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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.