GALLUP, NM - The Navajo Nation will open their first casino in October. Five more are in the planning stages. One will be near Farmington, NM, and the other four in Arizona.
FIRE ROCK CASINO
Opening in October 2008
Located at the Church Rock Chapter east of Gallup, NM
300 slot machines
Projected income $32 million in the first year
The Navajo Nation is the largest Indian tribe in the United States consisting of 200,000 members and a 25,000 square-mile reservation. Unemployment is very high and poverty abounds. As other tribes turned to casino revenues to improve their welfare, the Navajo have been reluctant to follow. Their membership voted down casino gaming in 1994 and 1997, so this step into Indian gaming is a major shift in direction.
Earlier this month the National Indian Gaming Commission reported there are now 423 Indian casinos operated by 225 tribes in 28 states. The total revenues in 2007 were $26 billion. The Albuquerque Journal reported the Indian casinos in New Mexico had total revenues of $700 million in 2007, which were an increase of 7.5% over 2006.
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