ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Native American leaders in New Mexico are raising concerns about a proposal by non-tribal racetracks and casinos to overhaul the industry and open the state to Las Vegas-style gambling.
They testified during a legislative meeting Monday that allowing unlimited slot machines, table games, online gambling and sports wagering at the horse tracks and casinos would shift the market and violate exclusivity provisions outlined in existing revenue-sharing compacts that tribes have with the state. That would compromise the ability to bring in money for their communities, the tribal leaders said.
“This proposed legislation presents not only a renewed challenge to our economic security but a reckless attempt to expand private wealth at the expense of our ability to provide essential government services,” Sandia Pueblo Gov. Stuart Paisano said.
The pueblo’s resort and casino on the northern edge of Albuquerque have been closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Calling the gambling operation the backbone of the pueblo’s economy, Paisano said there’s considerable uncertainty about how tribal operations will be affected going forward.
Monday’s meeting marked the first time tribal leaders have spoken publicly about the proposal to expand gambling.