ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gambling compacts negotiated by the state and a handful of American Indian tribes have cleared their final hurdle.
The U.S. Interior Department reviewed the compacts but took no action. Under federal law, the agreements are considered approved by the agency as long as they’re consistent with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
The assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, Kevin Washburn, spelled out some concerns the department had with the compacts in a four-page letter sent Tuesday to Gov. Susana Martinez and tribal leaders.
Washburn pointed to an apparent increase in revenue sharing rates for some tribes, but he acknowledged that the agreements had the support of the tribes.
Under the compacts, the Navajo Nation, Jicarilla and Mescalero Apache nations and three pueblos can operate casinos for another two decades.
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.