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Navajo Will Lease Slot Machines to Other AZ Casinos

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January 28, 2008

WINDOW ROCK, AZ - Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley announced today his tribe will lease slot machines to other Arizona tribes with existing casinos.

The Navajo Nation has the right to operate 1,400 slot machines, but will not open its first casino until July 4th this summer. That will be a temporary casino near Gallup, New Mexico, and will be followed by four more casinos built over the next few years in Northern Arizona.

The leases will be auctioned and should earn $140 million for the Navajos through the next 18 years. The Gila River Indian Community said they have won the rights to lease 411 of the Navajo slot machines. They operates 3 casinos near Chandler and Laveen. Other leases have not been disclosed.

The Navajo have ancient legends against gambling, so many fear the casinos will bring gambling addictions to their members. They also fear the legalization of alcohol in their casinos.

The Navajo plan to build their first Arizona casino 20 miles east of Flagstaff near I-40. It will be named Twin Arrows. Shirley said "This site provides the best chance throughout the Navajo Nation for the development of a destination resort. In addition to the casino, which will have about 800 slot machines, plans include a hotel, RV Park and conference center, as well as other amenities."

Three other casinos are planned for Northern Arizona. One will be at Cameron, one at Page, and the last one is still to be determined.

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