The Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone plans to put slot machines in some of its smoke shops in Nevada. This will mark the tribe’s first step into the gaming industry. “For a lot of years we’ve been trying to get it,” Chairman Davies Gonzalez told ICTMN about the process of acquiring a gaming compact. In fact, Gonzalez estimated that the process took 10-15 years, but now, the tribe will be adding slot machines to three of it’s smoke shops in Elko, Wells and Battle Mountain.
The tribe went through what can be a lengthy process. Some of those steps involved getting approval from the Indian Gaming Commission by submitting their own gaming ordinance, as well as getting consent from the state of Nevada to secure it’s Class III Gaming compact. Their next step is to create a gaming commission.
Gonzalez said that they are currently seeking gaming commissioners, and that so far, he’s had a range of applicants contact him. “I had someone from Yakima [Washington state] to contact me,” he said, commenting that he was surprised non-local applicants knew about the opportunity.
The tribe is looking primarily for people who have gaming experience. The Elko Daily Free Press reported “board members on the commission would consist of a chairperson and two other commissioners for a four-year term.” And that, “the remaining two commissioners would be appointed for a period of two years, and board members shall be appointed on a staggered basis thereafter,” the paper said.
Part of the inspiration to add slot machines in their tribal smoke shops had to do with the convenience of living in a big gaming state like Nevada. It is not uncommon to see slot machines inside gas stations, convenience stores, and even at Vegas’s McCarran International Airport. “Everyone else has them,” Gonzalez said, “Why don’t we?”
Gonzalez also said that whether or not the tribe will expand further into gaming depends on its council. The tribe is getting ready for election season. “A new council may say let’s build casinos,” Gonzalez said quizzically.
But who knows. They’ll just have to wait and see what happens.