The U.S. Department of Justice has ruled that it will confiscate more than $10 million from Pojoaque Pueblo as proceeds from illegal gambling operations. This is the two-year revenue collected by a tribe that ran three casinos without a contract with the state of New Mexico.
The decision to seize $11 million from Pueblo, a term for Native American communities in the American Southwest, comes after months of dispute between the tribe and the state. The two parties could not agree on the share of income New Mexico should receive from the casino in Pozoac, which opened even after the previous contract expired in 2015. At the time, U.S. attorney Damon Martinez allowed the tribe to keep the money in escrow accounts until a new contract was signed.
Pueblo finally signed a new agreement with the state government in 2017, but the profits collected during these two years contributed to the conflict between the state government and Pojuak. The issue was resolved Friday when the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was considering profits from illegal gambling operations, launching a civil forfeiture process. The federal government has already seized a bank account that collected three casino profits from Pojuak, which is about $11 million.
Joseph M., Governor of pojoac pueblo. Talachi said in a statement that he was disappointed by the Justice Department’s decision. According to him, the gambling proceeds from this bank account should be used to fund Pueblo’s education, healthcare and other needs. 안전놀이터
Years of conflict between the state and Pojoaque Pueblo
Tribes in New Mexico have signed a so-called agreement with the state, which gives them the right to run gambling facilities in exchange for a portion of their profits. Pojoaque Pueblo became a federally recognized Indian reserve in 1936 and was able to operate slot machines and race tracks with exclusive rights to table games under previous agreements. It also paid the state 8% of casino net wins under a revenue-sharing agreement.
When the contract expired in 2015, the tribe could not agree on the new terms set by the state of New Mexico, and did not sign the new document until August last year. The debate between the two parties was mainly about the larger percentage of income demanded by the state government. In 2017, Talachi argued that higher taxes at a time when the region’s gambling industry was in decline would reduce Pueblo’s income. State authorities responded that they expect Pueblo to agree only on the same terms already signed with Navajo Nation, Zicarilla and Mescalero Apache.
However, Pojoaque finally agreed to sign the new gambling deal, and now has to pay the state 10.75% of the net wins at the casinos Buffalo Thunder Resort, Cities of Gold Casino, and Jake’s Casino.