Yesterday, Hopi Tribe Chairman Herman G. Honanie and Governor Doug Ducey signed the Hopi Tribe-State of Arizona Tribal Gaming Compact, a year after the Tribe approved entering into a compact with the State of Arizona. The historic agreement, which gives the Hopi Tribe the opportunity to operate or lease up to 900 Class III gaming machines, makes Hopi the 22nd and last Arizona tribe to sign a gaming compact with the State.
Previously, Hopi was the only Tribe in Arizona unable to participate in or generate any revenue from tribal gaming. Currently, there are 23 tribal casinos statewide. According to a recent report by the Arizona Department of Gaming, gross tribal gaming revenues totaled nearly $1.9 billion for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2017. Since original execution of tribal gaming compacts in 2003, tribes have provided over $1 billion to the State of Arizona.
“Because the Hopi Tribe faces such an uncertain financial future, I believe providing opportunities and a path to prosperity for our People is of the highest importance,” said Chairman Honanie. “Having a gaming compact gives our Tribe the opportunity to generate millions of dollars in much-needed revenue and a way to join our sister tribes in sharing the financial success gaming has meant all across Indian country.”
Under the Compact, which will run for at least 20 years, the Tribe has the right to own and operate as many as 900 gaming machines on Hopi tribal land, or the right to lease those machines to other tribes within the state. Currently, 16 Arizona tribes operate casinos. Five tribes benefit from gaming through lease agreements.
“With the prospect of the Navajo Generating Station closure on the horizon and the resulting significant loss of tribal jobs and programs, this Compact is the first major step for the Tribe to explore all of its options for future revenue,” said Verrin T. Kewenvoyouma, attorney representing the Tribe. “Gaming has been a net positive for tribes across the Country for decades, improving education, the economy, public safety and social services. These benefits have not just been for tribes, as the surrounding communities and states significantly prosper from Indian gaming as well.”
The State will submit the compact to the Bureau of Indian Affairs for final approval by the federal government.