- Associated Press - Friday, July 17, 2015

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Santa Clara Pueblo has asked the federal government to shut down Pojoaque Pueblo’s casinos north of Santa Fe, which have continued to operate without a state gambling compact.

Santa Clara Gov. J. Michael Chavarria made the request to Kevin Washburn, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s deputy secretary of Indian affairs, in a July 5 letter. Chavarria wrote that allowing Buffalo Thunder and Cities of Gold casinos to operate gives Pojoaque an unfair advantage over other gambling tribes, reported The Santa Fe New Mexican (https://bit.ly/1HDIMvx).

Pojoaque’s compact with the state expired at the end of June.

Referring to an agreement between Pojoaque and U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez, outlined in a June 28 letter from Pojoaque Gov. Joseph Talachy, Chavarria wrote, “We also are curious at just who is going to provide any monitoring of Pojoaque’s gaming operations to assure that even the minimal commitments it made . are being complied with. We do not see the U.S. Attorney undertaking any such function, and Pojoaque’s letter is notably devoid of any reference to any role of the New Mexico Gaming Control Board or the state gaming representative during this period.”

Chavarria continued, “In short, despite this exchange of lofty sounding commitments and assurances, it appears that for the time being, at least, Pojoaque will be operating under a substantially less restrictive regulatory environment than the other gaming tribes, with significantly less financial obligations.”

Pojoaque has been trying to negotiate a new gambling compact with the federal government after failing to negotiate with the state in 2013. For more than a year, Pojoaque leaders have maintained that they have been treated unfairly by the administration of Gov. Martinez.

The Pojoaque casinos have been allowed to operate while the U.S. Court of Appeals hears a legal dispute between Pojoaque and the state.

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Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, https://www.sfnewmexican.com

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