An ongoing lawsuit has placed the Pojoaque Pueblo casinos in New Mexico in jeopardy of closing. The two casinos owned by the tribe are operated in the area north of Santa Fe and a gaming compact with the tribe expired on the 30th of June. Damon Martinez, the US Attorney of New Mexico, stated he would try to keep the casinos open despite the lawsuit and the tribal agreement coming to an end.
The Pojoaque Pueblo tribe and Martinez have reached an agreement in which the tribe will deposit money into an escrow account instead of providing the set amount to the state of New Mexico. The tribe will continue to deposit in this manner until a decision is made in the federal appeals court. The court is currently deciding as to if the tribe will have a gambling compact with New Mexico or the federal government.
The tribe currently operates to separate casinos, Buffalo Thunder and the Cities of Gold. Buffalo Thunder is a 60,000 square foot gaming area with 1,200 slot machines, 18 gaming tables and a poker room. Cities of Gold offers a smaller space of 40,000 square feet and 575 slot machines.
Martinez worked with the tribe to come to an agreement as the closure of the two casinos would not be in the best interest of the residents in New Mexico. The closures could have had a negative impact on the tourism industry of the state as well as harm employment. The tribe can now continue to provide casino gaming even though the compact has expired, as they wait for a decision by the appeals court.
The tribe must continue to operate under the expired contract’s terms. If the tribe violates the terms, the gaming facilities would have to be shut down.