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Slot licenses auctioned off

29 January 2008

ARIZONA -- As reported by the Arizona Republic: "Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley announced that the community will lease rights to an undisclosed number of slot machines to other Arizona tribes that already have gambling operations.

"Shirley said the leases, which await approval by the community's intergovernmental-relations council, are expected to generate $140 million for the Navajos through the next 18 years. Shirley said the money would be spent for community development.

"...Although the Navajo Nation has the right to operate 1,400 slot machines on tribal land, the nation's largest Indian community has been slow to embrace casinos.

"...Tribal officials also have legal issues to resolve before opening their first casino, such as whether to legalize the sale of alcohol.

"Still, Monday's announcement gave a strong indication the community is ready to move forward with gaming, which Shirley said is necessary to help the Navajo economy.

"The first Navajo casino, a multimillion-dollar temporary facility planned near Gallup, N.M., is expected to open by July 4. Four resort-casinos in northern Arizona that also will offer tourists opportunities to learn about Navajo history and culture are on the drawing board for the next several years..."

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