Friday, October 28, 2011

State questions tribal gaming revenues

It's been a good while since I've written about tribal casinos and revenue sharing, but there's been an interesting development in that arena. The chairman of the state's Gaming Control Board, David Norvell, said many of the 14 gaming tribes in New Mexico aren't paying their proper share, accounting for underpayments of between $13 and $20 million.

At issue is how the tribes account for free play, and how they incorporate it into the formula that determines how much revenue they share with the state. In short, the state says the tribes are paying less than they owe.

The issue has the potential to drag on and involve costly arbitration. It will be interesting to see how the new administration deals with an issue that first surfaced during former Gov. Gary Johnson's term.

When I was writing the story, I called all 14 gaming pueblo governments for comment, but only Pojoaque responded. If anyone reading this is or knows a tribal official, please encourage them to call me, as I would like to add more of their perspective for my next piece.

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