12 news has learned the Navajo Nation Council's Naabik'iyátí' Committee unanimously approved Legislation supporting two identical Congressional bills known as The Keep the Promise Act.
If approved by Congress, The Keep the Promise Act would prohibit the Tohono O'odham Nation's casino development on lands in the City of Glendale. The prohibition would last until 2027.
According to the legislation sponsored by Navajo Council Delegate Alton Joe Shepherd, "The Tohono O'odham Nation's gaming facility is likely to have a negative impact on the revenue gained from the Navajo Nation's only Arizona gaming facility ―Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort." The tribe reportedly spent more than $125 million building Twin Arrows.
"We are protecting our Nation's investment in gaming and also protecting the image and reputation of Arizona gaming tribes as it relates to current compacts with the state. We are looking ahead and doing what is best in the years to come."
In 2002, Arizona voters approved Proposition 202, the Indian Gaming Preservation and Self-Reliance Act in which Arizona gaming tribes agreed to limit the number of casinos within the state and also within the Phoenix metropolitan area.
The Congressional bills state that the agreement made between the tribes and Arizona voters would be preserved with the passage of the two bills, until the expiration of the gaming compacts authorized by Prop 202.
"The Keep the Promise Act will help to protect Navajo's investment in the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort and protect the integrity of Arizona's compact by limiting casino development in Pima and Maricopa Counties as was agreed to," said Navajo Speaker LoRenzo Bates.
"We did not make this decision without considering what would be best for the future of Navajo gaming, what would the Tohono O'odham gaming facility in Glendale mean to the futures of gaming for rural gaming Tribes in Arizona, and would it encourage other commercial gaming or casino interests who would like to move into Arizona," added Speaker Bates.
While a legal battle continues to rage on, the Tohono O'odham casino in Glendale is already under construction.