The Pojoaque Pueblo tribe has accused state gaming officials in New Mexico of conspiring against the tribe by holding a closed door meeting and taking indirect steps to threaten gaming manufacturers and vendors who do business with the tribal casino.
The Pojoaque Pueblo tribe and the New Mexico government have not had a good relationship for a number of years. The tribe had earlier walked away from a compact with the state as it believed that the Martinez administration was not dealing in good faith. The Pojoaque Pueblo tribe was willing to enter into a new compact provided the state was willing to bring down the gambling age requirement from 21 to 18, stop revenue sharing with the state and allow alcohol on the casino floor.
These requests were turned down by the Martinez administration as state officials said that these polices would not create a responsible social system and would de-stabilize the gambling industry as a whole. The Pojoaque Pueblo tribe has operated without a mandatory state compact since June 2015 and has accused state gaming regulators of indirectly manipulating gambling vendors to stop doing business with the tribe or run the risk of losing their license.
The Pojoaque Pueblo tribe has filed a lawsuit with the federal courts asking the courts to stop the state government from taking action against manufacturers and vendors who do business with the tribal casino. The tribe has also petitioned the state attorney general’s office for launching an investigation into an alleged closed door meeting that took place on the 15th of July.
In a statement, Pojoaque Gov. Joseph Talachy said “They won’t come right out and say, ‘We aren’t going to license you if you are doing business with the pueblo.’ They know they can’t assert jurisdiction in Indian Country. It’s an unfair way of trying to shut our casino down as we are planning our case.” A representative of the state general attorney’s office said that they had looked into the matter and found that there was sufficient evidence in the Pueblo tribe’s claim for an investigation to be launched.
The tribe alleges that many vendors have received threatening letters from the state gaming association cautioning them over the possibility of having their licensed revoked should they do business with casinos who are not legally compacted with the state. The Pueblo tribe stated that the threatening letters were already having an impact as some of the vendors were now hesitant of continuing their business relationship with the tribe.