Tribe to pay N.M. $24M in gambling suit - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

An Indian tribe has agreed to make $24 million in back casino payments to New Mexico to settle a lawsuit, the state attorney general announced Monday.

Pojoaque Pueblo had been claiming the state demand was too high and would wreck the tribes economy.

Attorney General Patricia Madrid sued New Mexico tribes that operate casinos five years ago. She alleged they were violating a 1997 compact that required them to pay 16 percent of their net slot-machine revenue to the state in exchange for limits on competition.

All the tribes except Pojoaque eventually settled and made payments. Revised gaming compacts, approved in 2001, require the tribes to pay no more than 8 percent of their slot revenue.

Pojoaque Pueblo, which owns the Cities of Gold Casino between Santa Fe and Espanola, will sign the 2001 compact and make its back payments in installments over about 12 years, Madrid said.

Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. George Rivera said: "The compact protects my peoples future and our local economy."

The agreement still must be approved by a federal judge in connection with the states lawsuit, but Madrid said she did not expect a problem.

Pojoaque Pueblo Gov. George Rivera said: "The compact protects my peoples future and our local economy."

Revenue sharing agreements with the tribes meant more than $38 million for the state last year.

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