Pueblo of Sandia, New Mexico


Sandia's governor says he's concerned about a lawsuit against Sandia and 11 other tribes that operate gambling casinos, but work on the new pueblo $80 million casino is continuing. "We have some concerns, but business is business, and construction will go on as planned," Gov. Stuwart Paisano said. The new casino - planned to be as large as four football fields - is on track to open in May 2001. Construction on the 200,000-square-foot casino began last November. "We do have the potential economic impact on jobs to consider," Paisano said. About 80 percent of the jobs are held by local residents, not necessarily tribal members, he said. Earlier this month, Attorney General Patricia Madrid sued 12 tribes, including Sandia, because they refused to turn over the required 16 percent of their slot machine revenue to the state. When completed, Sandia's casino will employ more than 1,500. The current casino employs about 800 people. The pueblo employs about 1,300 people in all of its enterprises. The casino project will include a bingo hall that will seat 850, the largest poker hall in the state, up to 1,200 slot machines, a 250-seat buffet restaurant, an entertainment lounge, meeting space and a gift shop. A grass amphitheater will seat about 3,000.