Pueblo of Pojoaque Loses $10 Million in Gaming Revenues in Dispute with State of New Mexico

Pueblo of Pojoaque (the “Pueblo”) loses $10 million in gaming revenues in dispute with the State of New Mexico.

The federal government seized a bank account with $10.1 million in gaming revenue from the Pueblo. This was just the latest turn in a years-long dispute between the State of New Mexico and the Pueblo over the terms of the gaming compact between the two parties.

The previous compact expired in June 2015, but negotiations for a new compact came to an impasse when Pueblo representatives rejected the terms offered by Governor Susana Martinez’s administration, accusing the state officials “of seeking an unreasonable large share of gambling revenue and of negotiating in bad faith.” The Pueblo went to court in an attempt to negotiate a compact with the federal government instead of the state. During the dispute, the Pueblo was given permission to continue Casino operations by the then-U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez under the condition that the Pueblo would place the usual share of revenues to be paid to the state, dictated by the expired compact, into an escrow account. Courts shot down the Pueblo’s case, and under mounting pressure the Pueblo signed a new compact with the state in 2017. The new compact states the Pueblo will have to pay the state between 9% and 10.75% of Class III  gaming revenues. The expired compact required the Pueblo to pay 8% of gaming revenues.

Even though a new gaming compact was signed, the Pueblo and the state could not agree on what to do with the funds placed into escrow. The Department of Justice seized the funds stating that they represented the proceeds from “illegal gambling” since they were earned during a period in which the Pueblo did not have a gaming compact with the state.

Read the article on Indianz.com HERE

Read the article on Santa Fe New Mexican HERE

Read the seizure filing HERE

10th Circuit Court of Appeals Decisions:
Pueblo of Pojoaque v. State of New Mexico
New Mexico v. Department of the Interior

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