On Thursday, August 7, Governor Susana Martinez’ office  sued the Department of the Interior to prevent them from approving the outrageous tribal gambling compact that Pojoaque Pueblo submitted to the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), a department at Interior.  Martinez says that because the compact would allow liquor to be served on the gambling floor, allow 18 year-olds to play the slots, and excuse the pueblo from paying ANY revenue sharing to the state, Pojoaque would gain a competitive edge over all the other New Mexico gambling operations.

Pojoaque has been saying that for two years the governor hasn’t negotiated in good faith, but the governor is basically offering Pojoaque the same compacts that all the other tribes approved in 2007, and very, very similar to the one that the governor negotiated with the Navajo tribe this year, which was rejected by the state legislature.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act says that if a state does not negotiate in good faith that a tribe can take their case to the NIGC to get a resolution, but any tribe can dig in their heels and claim that the state hasn’t negotiated in good faith.  Where is the proof that the governor hasn’t been fair in the negotiations?

I have mentioned in previous blogs and op-ed’s in the newspapers that if the compact battle gets taken to federal courts and the courts rule that Pojoaque is not required to pay revenue sharing (a distinct possibility), the whole arena of tribal gambling will be in chaos.  You can bet that the other six tribes that are currently negotiating with the governor, including the Navajos, will similarly sue to have revenue sharing removed from the table, and that tribes across the US will follow suit (so to speak).

Without question, the Johnson, Richardson, and now the Martinez administrations have made it a priority to advance casino gambling in New Mexico, at tribal and racetrack casinos.  Casino gambling, especially with slot machines, machines that are programmed to deceive and addict, is a failed government policy that promotes inequality and exploits the citizens of the state, and should be abolished as soon as possible.

It is time for the government (both tribal and state) to get out of the predatory gambling business.

An article in the Albuquerque Journal regarding the state’s suit can be found by clicking here.

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