In a recent article on USNews.com through the AP wire, the United States government has garnered over $10 million in real money casino gambling proceeds in the state of New Mexico. A bank account belonging to New Mexico’s Pojoaque Pueblo as a Native American Indian Tribe has been seized as part of an ongoing dispute with the state.
Pojoaque Pueblo has been operating New Mexico casinos north of Santa Fe. Furthermore, New Mexico for several years. The report on US News states that the agreement it had in place with the state expired in 2015. Under this agreement, the tribe had set aside funds to funnel back to the state.
Once the current agreement expired, the US attorney handling the matter permitted the casinos to continue to operate while a new agreement could be worked out. This decision contained certain provisions that Pojoaque Pueblo would have to meet to stay open. More particularly, the casinos had to continue to set aside funds for the state under the terms of the old agreement. These payments were to remain in place. However, the legal battle between these New Mexico casinos, and the state made its way through the courts.
The two sides finally came together last year on a new agreement, but the conflict between Pojoaque Pueblo’s leadership and the New Mexico state government could not resolve the money collected during this two-year period. Furthermore. The Native American Indian Tribe believes the lack of an agreement implies that they did not own the state these funds. Also, New Mexico claims that the money collected over the two-year impasse belongs to the state.
Most importantly, the federal government once again intervened in this matter. Last week, the report states that the US Department of Justice initiated forfeiture proceedings in federal court as the first step in a resolution. At the heart of this matter is Pojoaque Pueblo’s claim that the federal government violated its previous agreement in a move to ‘punish the tribe.’ Above all, this is its main reason to maintain the stance that the collected money is not owed to the state of New Mexico. Also, the tribe’s counter-proposal is to use these funds for its immediate needs as well as to promote economic development.
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In a statement released by Pojoaque Pueblo’s Governor Joseph Talachy, he went on to comment, “The money in this account by law should help provide food, shelter, education and other necessities for the Pueblo’s people, including funds to fight the overwhelming opioid epidemic that is devastating the Pueblo.”
New Mexico’s state officials have responded to this claim. Above all, they have said that allowing the Native American Indian Tribe to keep these funds for its use would be the equivalent of ‘giving the tribe a tax holiday for the two years. Above all, nobody chose to cover the gambling impact for two years.
As a side note to this story, real money gambling in the state of New Mexico has more than brick and mortar New Mexico casinos. Above all, this is due to the growing interest in online casinos for New Mexico players.