FORT McDOWELL, Ariz. – April 16, 2021 – The Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation is pleased to announce the signing of both the new Tribal State Gaming Compacts along with the legislative changes required to enact them. Fort McDowell, in conjunction with their sister tribes, has worked for years in good faith negotiations toward a modernized Compact with the State of Arizona. They are pleased to have reached agreement on compact amendments that will greatly benefit both Tribes and the State.
Fort McDowell is not new to gaming enterprise. The nation took a lead negotiating role in the 2002 compact negotiations, and has continued to work toward a mutually beneficial, limited and well-regulated gaming compact.
“When we developed the 2002 compacts, the tribal leaders were committed to ensuring that every tribe in the state benefit from the new agreement,” said President Bernadine Burnette. “We were also committed to sharing tribal revenues with the state and our local communities. These structures will remain intact and we, as tribes, will continue to support services that are critical to our local communities and our State.”
This modernized compact retains the revenue sharing agreement with the state through the Arizona Benefits Fund. As of today, the tribes have shared over $1.5 billion in gaming revenues, with the greatest portion of these revenues dedicated to supporting K-12 education. Trauma and emergency room funding receive the second largest contribution.
The 2021 compact amendments also preserve the 12% local revenue share. Within this structure, the tribes provide funding to local communities for projects that benefit public safety, emergency resources, conservation efforts and economic development. It was important to tribal leaders to maintain this relationship with, and support for, their neighbors.
The new compact amendments allow expansion both on and off reservation, but retain the parameters built into the original compacts that ensure their mutual agreements are upheld. The compact provisions will still be protected by the poison pill, ensuring that off reservation gaming will not expand beyond what was negotiated in the agreement.
“Tribes know best the needs of our communities,” said Vice President Paul Russell. “Fort McDowell entered into these compact negotiations with that perspective in mind. We appreciate the Governor for the work he and his staff did to reach this historic agreement and appreciate the legislature’s support for the legislation necessary to enact these new compacts.”