Copyright © 2013 Albuquerque Journal
Provisions in a Navajo Nation’s due new gaming compress is lifting concerns among during slightest one of a genealogical competitors, Laguna Pueblo, that contends it will change a gaming landscape in New Mexico.
The Navajo Nation hopes state lawmakers will approve a compress in a entrance legislative session.
“We know and honour a need for a Navajo Nation to have a gaming compress with a state,” pronounced Skip Sayre, who handles sales and selling for Laguna Development Corp., a tribally owned entity that operates Route 66 and Dancing Eagle casinos only west of Albuquerque.
“But there are supplies in a due compress that regard us,” he said.
Those embody proposals to: concede a Navajos to have dual additional casinos; set a regulation for income pity on games instituted by “free play”; and giveaway Navajo casinos from income pity if Internet gambling is approved.
The Navajos have 3 casinos in New Mexico: Fire Rock Navajo Casino only easterly of Gallup; Northern Edge Navajo Casino only west of Farmington; and Flowing Water Navajos Casino easterly of Shiprock.
The Navajo Nation is one of 5 gaming tribes or pueblos that work underneath a 2001 gaming compress and are negotiating new gaming compacts with a state in allege of those compacts’ Jun 30, 2015, death date.
Laguna and 8 other gaming pueblos renegotiated their strange 2001 gaming compacts with a state in 2007 and will work underneath those compacts by 2037, Sayre said.
If a Navajo compress is upheld as now written, it will “completely change a state gaming landscape,” he said.
Sayre questions a viability of dual some-more casinos in a state, observant new studies prove that a gaming marketplace here – and quite in a metro Albuquerque area – is display “essentially no growth.”
A pivotal indicator of altogether gaming activity in a state adds faith to that claim.
The 14 New Mexico tribes that have gambling compacts with a state news their revenues to a state Gaming Control Board, yet they are not compulsory to make those total public. The Gaming Control Board does, however, news “net win” total – a volume wagered on container machines reduction payouts and regulatory fees. Tribal casinos compensate a state a commission of their net win which, final year, amounted to some-more than $68.3 million. But a income upsurge has slowed.
From 2008 by 2012, expansion in genealogical net win statewide averaged 1.6 percent per year, according to total gathered by a Gaming Control Board. In a 5 years before to that, expansion in genealogical net win had averaged 12.1 percent per year.
“We’re endangered about marketplace saturation,” Sayre said.
State Sen. Steven Neville , R-Aztec, voiced identical concerns for northwestern New Mexico when Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly touted a new compress before a state’s Legislative Finance Committee in October.
“I’m only endangered we’re overdoing it,” Neville pronounced then, adding that a Northern Edge Navajo Casino only outward Farmington has “devastated” SunRay Park, a racetrack/casino only 9 miles easterly of Northern Edge.
The pueblos that renegotiated their compacts with a state 6 years ago are singular to dual casinos every for during slightest a subsequent 24 years.
Even yet Navajo officials recently told a state’s Legislative Finance Committee they have no evident skeleton to build a due additional casinos, Sayre pronounced there’s regard a Navajos competence eventually revitalise a 2004 devise to build a casino formidable during To’hajiilee, only over a mile west of Laguna’s Route 66 Casino on Interstate 40.
That devise called for a 300,000-square-foot casino, a hotel/conference center, caller center, transport center, golf course, recreational properties, RV park, industrial area and other amenities on a 647-acre parcel of genealogical land.
“Locations for additional Navajo casinos have not been formalized during this time,” Derrick Watchman, CEO of a Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, that skeleton and operates Navajo casinos, pronounced in a matter Friday. “Our concentration stays on finalizing a compress in a arriving legislative session.
“The compress will run for several decades, so any destiny expansion … in New Mexico will be contingent on a markets during that time,” he said.
Such a formidable would contest directly with Route 66 Casino – that provides about 1,100 jobs – yet Sayre pronounced a genuine regard is over-saturation of a Albuquerque gambling market.
“Recognizing a majority of a Albuquerque metro gaming marketplace over a final few years, if zero else, should positively be a consideration,” as state legislators cruise a Navajo proposal, he said.
An unlevel field
After Laguna and 8 other pueblos renegotiated their compacts in 2007, they done large collateral investments during their casinos, Sayre said.
“We done those investments with a faith that we had a transparent design of what a rival landscape was going to demeanour like in New Mexico,” he said. “Adding dual or 3 new casinos puts us during a waste in terms of realizing some kind of lapse on those collateral investments.”
The Navajo offer would boost a tribe’s stream income pity with a state, that is now set during 8 percent of practiced net win, and radically matches a rates concluded to by a 9 gaming pueblos that renegotiated their compacts in 2007. The rates boost in increments formed on levels of net win, and rise during 9.75 percent by 2015. That rate tops out during 10 percent from 2016 by 2030, and during 10.75 percent from 2031 by 2037.
Sayre also voiced regard that dual other supplies in a due Navajo compress – one on supposed “free play” and a other on internet gambling – could turn de facto benchmarks for all other gaming compacts.
Free play – an inducement offering by casinos that lets gamblers play a diversion for giveaway – has prolonged been a indicate of row between casinos and state regulators.
The state contends that genealogical casinos should not embody jackpots won with “free play” as deductions from their net win calculations, pronounced Peggy Hardwick, comparison staff warn with a New Mexico Gaming Control Board.
Only dual gaming pueblos – Laguna and Ohkay Owingeh – are now doing so, Hardwick said, adding that Taos Pueblo’s Taos Mountain Casino does not offer giveaway play. The Navajo offer to make 35 percent of giveaway play jackpots theme to income sharing, Sayre said, serve complicates a free-play issue.
“We consider that adding what is radically a third resolution to a doubt of giveaway play … creates it some-more formidable to strech a resolution” excusable to everyone, he said.
Eliminating giveaway play or “bonus play” opposite a house is not an option, Sayre said.
“It’s a outrageous selling apparatus and a poignant business expense,” he said. “But it has turn an expectancy of customers.”
Similarly, a emanate of Internet gaming is in motion nationwide, and addressing it in a Navajo compress is premature, he said.
“That unequivocally caused us to lift a eyebrows a small bit,” he said. “The whole doubt of Internet gaming is rarely uncertain.”
The due Navajo compress says that if a state or sovereign supervision were to sanction Internet gambling here, a Navajo casinos could stop pity income with a state unless a Navajo casinos were also authorised to offer Internet gaming.
The state Legislature’s Indian Affairs Committee is slated to hear updates on negotiations of a due Navajo compress – along with those being due by Pojoaque Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo, Jicarilla Apache and a Mescalero Apache tribes – commencement during noon Monday during Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino.
Journal staff author Deborah Baker contributed to this report