The Pojoaque Pueblo’s gaming operations have been dealt a serious blow by federal judge James Browning, who ruled that the state of New Mexico is free to take action against vendors working with the tribe’s gambling enterprises because the pueblo doesn’t have a gambling compact with the state. According to New Mexico Gov. Martinez, the ruling reaffirmed that Pojoaque Pueblo was an illegal gambling operation, while the pueblo’s governor Joseph Talachy had refrained from comments on the 200-page decision, according to reports.
The Pojoaque Pueblo tribe runs two casinos in the state, the Buffalo Thunder Casino Resort and the smaller Cities of Gold. Following the expiry on their state compact, the tribe didn’t want to accept the new terms proposed by the state and was allowed to keep the casinos operational until a new agreement was reached. The key revisions the tribe asked for was to put a stop to revenue-sharing with the state, the lowering of the legal gambling age from 21 to 18, and that the state allowed alcohol in gambling facilities.
When negotiations failed, the Pojoaque Pueblo then tried to have a gambling compact approved by the Department of Interior, which the state challenged in court. The tribe also filed a separate request with the federal court, asking the court to block the state of New Mexico from taking legal actions against vendors who do business with their gaming operations.
The request was recently denied by district judge James Browning who said the tribe failed to demonstrate they would suffer irreparable injury if a stay was not imposed, but also called their argument “speculative”, according to local reports. He stated that while the regulatory act does allow tribes to generate revenue through gaming, it also specifically requires that such operations are conducted through a compact with the state.