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AG Voices Concerns about Off-Reservation Casino

20 June 2005

Las Vegas Sun

SANTA FE -- State Attorney General Patricia Madrid has told federal officials that a plan by Jemez Pueblo and Santa Fe art dealer Gerald Peters to build an off-reservation casino in southern New Mexico is a bad idea.

In a letter sent Friday to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Madrid warned that allowing the pueblo to build a casino in Anthony -- nearly 300 miles from its land in northern New Mexico -- could open the floodgates for casino gambling expansion.

"I don't think this is just an issue that impacts Las Cruces and the southern area," Madrid said. "I think it has implications for the entire state."

The casino, proposed by the pueblo and Peters' Circle P Investments, would require approval from Gov. Bill Richardson and U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton. Only three off-reservation casinos exist in the United States, although there is a list of applications pending with the federal government.

Friday was the final day to comment on the proposed casino. Comments will be used to create a draft environmental impact statement.

Madrid believes federal criteria for taking land into trust for an off-reservation casino are too vague and don't provide enough opportunity for public views.

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