Navajo gaming distributes $10M to tribal fund
FARMINGTON — A tribal fund designed to help chapters fund projects that benefit communities received a financial boost last week from the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise.
The gaming enterprise issued $10 million to the Navajo Nation for the tribe's Gaming Distribution Fund, according to a press release from the Office of the Speaker.
A check was presented by gaming enterprise officials to members of the Navajo Nation Council and tribal President Russell Begaye during a ceremony on May 18 at Fire Rock Casino, located east of Gallup.
The amount was collected during fiscal years 2016 and 2017 and generated by Fire Rock Casino, Flowing Water Casino in Hogback, Northern Edge Casino near Farmington and Twin Arrows Casino Resort near Flagstaff, Arizona, according to the gaming enterprise.
Brian Parrish, interim CEO of the gaming enterprise, said in an email Monday the enterprise has a consolidated loan agreement with the tribe for the four casino properties, so all revenues and profits are "pledged" to guarantee the loan.
"Therefore, available cash after operating expenses, capital projects and debt service can be earmarked for payment to the Navajo Nation," Parrish wrote.
The speaker's office press release states the tribal council established the Gaming Revenues Fund Management Plan, which is a distribution policy, to allocate revenue generated by gaming to the 110 chapters for capital improvement projects or utilities.
Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise Board of Directors Chairman Quincy Natay said in the release the enterprise was pleased to provide the payment.
"The NNGE board and senior management remains committed to growing a Navajo gaming economy while creating more jobs and making more payments to the fund in the future," Natay said.
This is the fifth disbursement by the gaming enterprise, and it is the largest contribution to date.
The enterprise provided $1.5 million and approximately $732,000 in 2016, $1 million in 2013 and $5 million in 2012.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.