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New Mexico casino to open on Monday

11 January 2012

UPPER FRUITLAND, Nex Mexico -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE) announced today that the grand opening of its Northern Edge Navajo Casino, located on N36, 1 mile west of NM-371, will take place at noon on Monday, Jan. 16 near Farmington, N.M. The opening of Northern Edge is marked by rich traditions in architecture, Navajo art displays and important new employment opportunities.

The 86,000-square-foot facility showcases Navajo culture and features artwork completed by commissioned Navajo artists that includes Navajo rugs, Navajo baskets, wood carvings and Navajo pottery. The structure was designed by the Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas, working with Navajo Nation tribal members and was constructed by a Navajo owned joint venture Arviso/Okland JV. Northern Edge has 750 slot machines, six poker tables, 10 live table games, a full service restaurant, food court, gift shop and players club.

"The opening of Northern Edge represents a significant turning point for the economic health and prosperity for the Navajo Nation," said Bob Winter, chief executive officer of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. "Northern Edge is expected to create approximately 374 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of $12 million, including salaries and benefits. Additionally, NNGE built a three-mile natural gas line allowing the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority to expand its gas services to residents in the surrounding area that were previously dependent on propane. Also, a new electric substation funded by the Enterprise will bring additional power to both residents and businesses needed for growth in the eastern region of the Upper Fruitland Chapter."

The casino will operate 24 hours per day Friday through Sunday, and on holidays, and 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m., Monday through Thursday.

"We look forward to welcoming everyone from the region to enjoy genuine Navajo artwork and the best gaming facility anywhere in the four corners," said Quincy Natay, chairman of the Board of Directors of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. "Northern Edge will be an economic boost to the Navajo Nation and surrounding communities."

In the interior of the casino, a large mural represents a Navajo constellation and the entry floor features a "dry painting" that uses several natural materials including White Shell, representative of White Shell Woman.

Additionally, the casino ceiling is a representation of the Navajo tradition of weaving and of Spider Woman who taught Navajos how to weave. Custom chandeliers were created to incorporate the Navajo beliefs of the four sacred mountains, four sacred directions, and four sacred stones.

Northern Edge marks the third casino to open under the direction of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. The Twin Arrows Navajo Casino and Resort, scheduled to open in the spring of 2013, is currently under construction and is located on the Navajo Nation Reservation outside of Flagstaff, Ariz.

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