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Community, Other Arizona Tribes Join Arizona Governor in Amending Tribal Gaming Compact

(l-r) Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, White Mountain Apache Tribal Chairman Ronnie Lupe, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Delbert Ray, Sr. and others at the amendment signing of the Tribal-State Gaming Compact on November 21 at the Arizona State Capitol.

Native American leaders in Arizona, including Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Delbert Ray, Sr., joined Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in signing a key gaming amendment on November 21.

The amendment to the existing Arizona Tribal-State Gaming Compact allows tribes the chance to renegotiate the compacts to reflect more modernized gaming technology and new games, in return for promising not to build future gaming facilities within the Phoenix metro area.

“Today we reaffirm the promise we made 15 years ago that Indian gaming would be limited, well-regulated and there would be no additional casinos in the Phoenix metropolitan area,” Ray said. “I commend Gov. Ducey for building on both the legacy of previous Arizona leaders and the incredible success of the 2002 tribal gaming compact. It has created upwards of 15,000 jobs, driven significant economic development, and contributed to making Arizona’s education and health care systems stronger.”

Leaders from the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, the Tonto Apache Tribe, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the Hualapai Tribe, the Havasupai Tribe, the Gila River Indian Community and the Navajo Nation joined Ray and Ducey at the Arizona State Capitol for the signing.

Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Council member Jenelle Howard, Vice-President Martin Harvier, President Delbert Ray, Sr., Council member Archie Kashoya, Council member Michael Dallas at the Arizona State Capitol.
“It’s time for us to modernize this compact to meet the changing needs of the state and to increase the opportunities for tribal gaming,” Ducey said. “It’s a view that’s been expressed by tribal leaders over the years, and I agree. The time has come to allow each tribe more freedom in their gaming operations and give every Nation the opportunity to have a seat at the table.”

The Phoenix area has eight casinos, including Casino Arizona and Talking Stick Resort. In late 2015, the Tohono O’odham Nation opened a casino in Glendale, a move that many tribes in Arizona disagreed with.

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and Hualapai Tribal Chairman Damon Clarke, along with Ducey, addressed the crowd at the signing.

Begaye said modernizing gaming in Arizona would help keep more money in the state and not lose it to Las Vegas. Tribal gaming contributes thousands of dollars to the state’s education and tourism programs, among others.

“I am pleased that Gov. Ducey has taken the lead to negotiate amendments that will modernize our gaming compact, so we can better compete for patrons, cut excessive regulation and extend our compact’s duration,” Begaye said.