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The Jicarilla Apache Nation Announces Agreement on New Gaming Compact

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The Jicarilla Apache Nation and the New Mexico Governor’s Office have reached an agreement in principle on a new class III gaming compact. The new agreement would ensure that the Nation’s class III gaming operations remain open until 2037.

Jicarilla Apache President Ty Vicenti said, “The Nation is satisfied that this new agreement addresses the policy interests of the tribe’s governing body, including the Jicarilla Legislative Council, as well as the State of New Mexico. This agreement also guards against the potential closure of the Nation’s gaming facilities and preserves hundreds of jobs in northern New Mexico.”

The Nation spent much of the past year in intense negotiations with representatives of Gov. Susana Martinez. It entered into these negotiations with the intent of reaching a negotiated agreement that complied with governing federal law. The State of New Mexico and the Nation each had their objectives, but they were able to reach a successful agreement.

Chief negotiator and General Counsel for the Nation, Dion Killsback said in a news release, “The State recognized that the Nation has the smallest tribal gaming operation among New Mexico tribes, and it agreed that the Nation’s revenue sharing rates should reflect that fact. Despite being the smallest, the Nation’s leadership felt it was important to share its gaming revenue with the state.”

The Nation and the governor’s office successfully negotiated an appropriate revenue sharing amount that reflects the Nation’s position. They were also successful in negotiating a reduction in the regulatory fee it will pay to the New Mexico Gaming Control Board. The Nation’s revenue sharing payments will be made over the course of 22 years according to the following timeline:

The new compact requires the Nation to share 2percent of the first $6 million of its annual Net Win with the state beginning on the effective date of the new compact.

If/when the Nation generates more than $6 million in annual Net Win, it will share 8.5 percent of its win with the State of New Mexico on each dollar over the $6 million threshold, which rises to 9.5 percent by 2030. 

This compact puts the Nation on par with other gaming tribes in New Mexico. The Nation and state also agreed to create new procedures (for example, establish a statewide list of gamblers who are excluded from both tribal and non-tribal gaming facilities)to help reduce problem gambling in New Mexico. “Indian gaming has matured in New Mexico," Jicarilla President Ty Vicenti said in a news release. "It has become a very sophisticated industry. The Jicarilla Apache Nation has proven that it has the expertise and experience necessary to regulate and oversee gaming activities conducted by the Nation and the ability to maintain the integrity of gaming. This agreement provides a beacon of hope for those living in rural New Mexico, where jobs have been difficult to find and difficult to sustain, especially during a statewide depressed economy. I am pleased with the outcome of our negotiations with the State.”

The Nation’s new compact complies with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act and standing class III gaming compacts in New Mexico.

This new agreement must be approved by the New Mexico State Legislature in the upcoming 2015 session in January, and by the U.S. Department of the Interior, in order to take effect.