A closed sign is shown on Tuesday on the door of the Northern Edge Navajo Casino west of Farmington on Old N 36
A closed sign is shown on Tuesday on the door of the Northern Edge Navajo Casino west of Farmington on Old N 36 (Megan Farmer/The Daily Times)
FARMINGTON — Northern Edge Navajo Casino was closed on Tuesday, and the business reopened late in the evening.

A press release sent after 5 p.m. from the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise stated that a “technical problem” caused the closure. Crews, the release said, were replacing a “fiber connection” when the surveillance cameras were “impacted.”

Navajo Gaming Regulatory Office policy mandates that a casino halt on-site gaming and commercial operations when its cameras are impaired or shut off, according to the release. The office did not provide any further information on the policies by Tuesday evening.

“We apologize for this brief business interruption and deeply appreciate your understanding,” the release stated.

An email sent just before 9:40 p.m, from Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise CEO Derrick Watchman to The Daily Times stated the casino had just reopened. The email says the casino had surveillance computer issues and was able to fix the problem.

Repeated attempts earlier in the day to reach officials for more information on the closure were unsuccessful. An official in the casino's general management office declined to comment throughout the day, refusing around noon to confirm that the business had even closed.

Signs taped to the casino's black glass doors apologized for the “inconvience” but offered no explanation for the closure and turned customers away. No news of the closure was posted on the casino's website or Facebook. Customers waiting outside speculated.

“It's probably computers,” said George Fisk, sitting on a bench near the glass entrance doors. Most Tuesdays, the 67-year-old Farmington resident said he drives to the casino for “free senior play” and dinner. He said the business has had problems in the past with its computers.

On Tuesday afternoon, others waited in cars in the nearly vacant parking lot, hoping the casino would soon open.
The Northern Edge Navajo Casino is shown on Tuesday west of Farmington on Old N 36.
The Northern Edge Navajo Casino is shown on Tuesday west of Farmington on Old N 36. (Megan Farmer/The Daily Times)


“I just thought it was odd that there was nobody in this parking lot,” Leshay Cook, a Farmington resident, said from the passenger seat of a Pontiac sedan.

A security guard at the casino declined comment, and other casino officials reached by phone were unresponsive. Efforts to contact Brian Parrish, Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise acting CEO, were unsuccessful.

Messages left for the New Mexico Gaming Control Board acting executive director, Frank Baca, were not returned as of Tuesday evening.

Dan Schwartz covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and dschwartz@daily-times.com. Follow him @dtdschwartz on Twitter.