January 17, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Enchanted Odds

New Navajo Casino Now Open

"The new 86,000 square-foot facility has 750 slot machines (about the size of Ohkay or Cities of Gold Casinos), six poker tables, 10 table games, a food court, gift shop and a full-service restaurant..."

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The Navajo Nation, at first reluctant to get in the Indian gaming business, now has three casinos in New Mexico with the opening of the gaming facility known as Northern Edge Navajo Casino, located in northwest New Mexico.

The new casino opened to huge crowds on Monday, January 16.

According to its website, “The name Northern Edge Navajo Casino was selected by the Upper Fruitland Chapter. The name was researched and has cleared federal trademark laws. Northern represents the geographic location of the casino, which is in the northern area of the Navajo Nation. Edge also describes the physical location of the casino, which borders the city of Farmington and the Upper Fruitland Community.  The black triangles (of the casino’s logo) represent the North sacred mountain, Mount Hesperus, Dibé Nitsaa, located within the La Plata Mountains. The element of water is incorporated to show the presence of the three rivers located within the area, the La Plata River, San Juan River and Animas Valley River. The colored triangles within the mountains represent the two casino towers that will be highly visible at night. Overall the logo represents the Northern Edge of the Great Navajo Nation.”

The new 86,000 square-foot facility has 750 slot machines (about the size of Ohkay or Cities of Gold Casinos), six poker tables, 10 table games, a food court, gift shop and a full-service restaurant serving alcohol.   It is located on Navajo Route 36, just south of Farmington’s city limits.

Fire Rock Navajo Casino, located in Church Rock, opened in 2008 and was the first Navajo gaming operation. Flowing Water Navajo Casino opened in 2010 in Hogback.

According to The Daily Times in Farmington, the Navajos have tentative plans to expand the facility to include a hotel.   The casino will have 375 full time employees, 90 percent of them Navajo, and an annual payroll of $12 million.

In the last reporting period, the third quarter of 2011, the Navajo Nation had the seventh largest net win ($10,821,807) out of 14 tribes behind Pojoaque ($15,118,350) and Tesuque ($5,930,739).  A third casino could move the Navajo’s bottom line up if they are able to generate new customers as opposed to cannibalizing their existing gaming facilities.   

The casino’s website offers very little information, but to see the artist rendering of the casino and the logo, go to www.northernedgenavajocasino.com/.

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