New Mexico lawmakers to take testimony on proposed gambling compacts for tribal casinos

By The Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — New Mexico lawmakers are facing a hard deadline as agreements that allow a handful of American Indian tribes to operate casinos approach their expiration date.

Gov. Susana Martinez’s office has spent the last three years working with tribes to craft a new gambling compact that supporters say would bring stability to New Mexico’s gaming industry, protect jobs and increase revenues to the state.

However, some lawmakers say New Mexico is veering off course.

Senate Finance Chairman John Arthur Smith suggests the state has deviated from its initial plan nearly two decades ago of trying to strike a balance among horse racing tracks, American Indian communities seeking economic development and the state lottery.

Tribes and the public will have a chance Saturday to testify on the proposed compact before the Legislature’s compact committee.