BIA allows two more New Mexico gaming deals to go into effect

The Isleta Resort and Casino at Isleta Pueblo in New Mexico. Photo from Facebook

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has allowed two more Class III gaming compacts in New Mexico to take effect.

The compact with Taos Pueblo went into effect on Wednesday while the one for the Isleta Pueblo went into effect on Tuesday. Both agreements are considered approved to the extent their provisions are consistent with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

The two tribes join the Navajo Nation, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, the Mescalero Apache Nation, Acoma Pueblo and Jemez Pueblo with deemed approved compacts. The BIA allowed those agreements to take effect on June 22 despite questions raised by Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn about a higher revenue-sharing rate.

Washburn, however, said the tribes assured him they were satisfied with the provisions, according to a June 9 letter that went out to the first five tribes that signed the compact.

New Mexico is now home to seven deemed approved compacts, accounting for half of the tribes with casinos. It appears that no other state has such a high number.

The number will continue to rise as more tribes have already signed the deal or are close to signing it. The holdout is Pojoaque Pueblo, whose leaders contend the higher revenue-sharing provisions are not in their best interests.

Under IGRA, the BIA has 45 days to review a Class III gaming compact. The agency can either approve it or reject it at the end of that period.

But in cases where the decision is too close to call, the agency lets the agreement take effect.

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

Federal Register Notices:
Indian Gaming [Pueblo of Taos] (July 30, 2015)
Indian Gaming [Pueblo of Isleta] (July 28, 2015)
Indian Gaming [Jicarilla Apache Nation, Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, Navajo Nation, Pueblo of Acoma, and Pueblo of Jemez] (June 22, 2015)

Related Stories:
Pojoaque Pueblo files new suit in New Mexico gaming feud (07/21)
Pojoaque Pueblo resists higher revenue sharing rate at casinos (07/15)
New Mexico tribes see 3.6 percent dip in slot machine winnings (07/14)
Four more tribes in New Mexico enter Class III gaming compact (07/02)
Navajo Nation leader hails action on Class III gaming compact (06/25)
BIA raised concerns about Class III gaming deal in New Mexico (06/10)
Navajo Nation to add Class III table games to New Mexico casino (06/09)
Navajo Nation Council leader reports approval of gaming compact (06/08)
Acoma Pueblo awaits BIA approval for Class III gaming compact (05/01)
New Mexico gaming compact includes self-exclusion provision (04/15)
Tribes in New Mexico send new Class III gaming compact to BIA (04/14)

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