New Mexico Casinos report slower tourist season

From the Santa Fe New - by Steve Terrell - The recession has been tough on all kinds of businesses, and local Indian-owned gambling casinos haven't been immune. True, the statewide net win for the most recent quarter was slightly higher than last year's total for the same period. But two of the four casinos in the Santa Fe/EspaƱola area reported weaker numbers for the recent tourist season compared with year-ago figures. Under compacts between casino-operating tribes and the state of New Mexico, the state collects a share of the take from slot-machines. One tribe reporting smaller numbers is Pojoaque Pueblo north of Santa Fe, home to the massive Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino, which has experienced financial problems. At least three times in the past year, Pojoaque missed making $11 million payments on bonds it issued for financing. State Gaming Control Board records show Pojoaque's net wins for the third quarter of 2010 were just over $13.3 million. The net win is the amount gambled on slot machines minus the amount paid in cash and noncash prizes as well as fees. That's down nearly 6 percent from the third quarter of 2009, for which the pueblo reported more than $14.1 million in net wins. The third quarter includes the months of July, August and September. Pojoaque Gov. George Rivera, who couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday, in May told The New Mexican that the pueblo was trying to negotiate a restructuring of its payments to bondholders. Read more


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