March 19, 2015

Gaming compact passes House

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Courtesy of Jeff Kubina via Flickr

The gaming compact that outlines the agreement between five Native American tribes and the state of New Mexico was approved by the House by to 60 to 5 vote.

Courtesy of Jeff Kubina via Flickr

Courtesy of Jeff Kubina via Flickr

The new compact would allow tribes to operate gaming facilities 24 hours a day, extend lines of credit to those gambling and compensate food and drink.

The agreement also defines the amount of net winnings tribes would pay the state in exchange for gaming exclusivity.

Rep. Sharon Clahchischilliage, R-Kirtland, presented the compact in the form of the a joint resolution and told the body how important the compact is to both the state and tribes.

“The needs of the five tribes and the state have been protected,” Clahchischilliage said.

She added that tribes agreed to share more of their revenue and that the state is set to receive $10 million from the tribes.

All the floor debate came in support of the compact. Many representatives who spoke urged the body to vote in favor of the compact, saying it not only helps tribal members but also those in surrounding areas.

Rep. Roger Madalena, D-Jemez Pueblo, said, “I can only stand and ask for your support to help the tribes and the state of New Mexico

Reps. Debbie Rodella, D-Española, and W.Ken Martinez, D-Grants both spoke out in favor of the compact with similar opinions.

“I’m personally delighted that we come with a unified compact,” Martinez said.

The closest thing to opposition came from Rep. James Townsend, R-Artesia, who raised concerns about inflation rising faster that the proposed tier of wage sharing, as shown in the chart below.

A breakdown of the profit sharing under the proposed 2015 gaming compact.  Source: Gaming Compact Fiscal Impact Report from Legislative Council Services

A breakdown of the profit sharing under the proposed 2015 gaming compact.
Source: Gaming Compact Fiscal Impact Report from Legislative Council Services

The five tribes that negotiated the compact with Gov. Susana Martinez’s office are the Jicarilla Apache Nation, Acoma Pueblo, Jemez Pueblo, the Navajo Nation and the Mescalero Apache tribe. Except for Jemez, all of the groups have compacts that are set to expire in June.

The approved compact still needs a signature from Martinez and approval from the U.S Department of Interior. If the compact is not finalized by June, the affected tribes could risk closing casino doors until it the process is complete.

Read More:

Legislative tennis: How gaming compacts are made

Gaming compact passes Senate, heads to House

Gaming compact passes House