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Arizonian Tribal Gaming

Casino gaming operations in Arizona take place on tribal lands. Past changes to tribal compacts have allowed house-banked table games in tribal casinos. Arizona has 16 tribes operating close to 30 Class III gaming casinos in the state. Another six tribes do not have casinos but can lease their Class III gaming devices to other tribes in the state under a “transfer agreement.” Under the tribal-state compact, there is a maximum of 20,500 slot machines permitted in the state, including the transfer agreements.

In August 2004, Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. cleared the way for gambling at five tribal chapters, including two in Arizona, by not acting on legislation passed by the Tribal Council. The council had voted 59-14 for a proposal to legalize gambling in the Shiprock, Hogback and Manuelito chapters in New Mexico and the Nahata Dziil and Leupp chapters in Arizona. Both Arizona chapters are on Interstate 40 in northeastern Arizona and are considered prime locations for drawing crowds into casinos.

In January 2008, a group of former Navajo Nation leaders and grassroots supporters filed litigation to prevent the Nation from concluding a $100 million loan agreement with JP Morgan Chase to finance gaming. Their main concern was that the Nation's permanent trust fund could be required as collateral on the loan. In the same month, the tribe announced its plans to lease rights to some of its slot machines to Arizona tribes who already have gaming. In March 2008, an agreement was signed between the tribe and the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise for a $35 million line of credit to begin building a casino. There were several safeguards put into place, notably that the tribe would have seven years to repay the loan at 11% interest. The agreement is a line of credit, meaning interest will only accrue on money that was actually spent, allowing the tribe to build in phases.

In 2013, the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort in Flagstaff held its grand opening.

In 2015, the Tohono O'odham Nation opened Desert Diamond Casino – West Valley in Glendale, and in 2017, San Carlos Apache opened Apache Sky Casino in Dudleyville.

Arizonian Tribal Gaming Properties

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