Navajo Nation Council leader reports approval of gaming compact

The Fire Rock Navajo Casino in New Mexico. Photo from Facebook

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has allowed a Class III gaming compact between the Navajo Nation and the state of New Mexico to go into effect, a tribal leader said.

The compact was sent to the BIA for review in April. Under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the agency had 45 days to approve it, reject it or let it take effect to the extent its provisions are consistent with the 1988 law.

The deadline passed on Friday, Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates said. Since no denial came from Washington, D.C., the agreement is now legal.

Navajo Nation Council Speaker LoRenzo Bates, second from right in back row, watched as New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) signed the Class III gaming compact with former president Ben Shelly in April. Photo from Gov. Martinez

“The U.S. Department of the Interior had until June 5 to approve or deny the terms of the compact in accordance with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act,” Bates said in a press release today. “Accordingly, the compact has been deemed approved.”

The tribe operates three gaming facilities in New Mexico. The compact authorizes another casino to be opened in six years although there aren't concrete plans for one at this time.

Relevant Documents:
BIA Deemed Approved Letter (June 9, 2015)

Government Accountability Office Report:
Regulation and Oversight by the Federal Government, States, and Tribes (June 3, 2015)

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