WINDOW ROCK - The Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) considered Legislation No. 0158-15, approving a Gaming Net Revenue Distribution Policy for all 110 Navajo chapters May 11.
Five-percent of the net revenues deposited from all gaming facilities would be distributed equally to all the chapters.
Former BFC chair and now Vice President Jonathan Nez sponsored the legislation and said it would allow chapters to begin receiving gaming revenues to move projects forward in their communities.
"This policy is a means to transform aspects of our communities at the direction of local control. We are within reach of showing our Navajo people how our gaming revenues can impact lives, and this is one of the main reasons why we entered the gaming industry to begin with," Nez said.
He added that the Navajo Nation Council established the Gaming Revenues Fund Management Plan, which states that the distribution policy will allocate gaming revenues in a manner that recognizes both the immediate and long-term needs of the Navajo Nation.
According to the Gaming Net Revenue Distribution Policy, the allocation plan was established to determine the use of Class II and Class III net gaming revenues received from the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise from gaming activities and to provide procedures on how to use the gaming funds in accordance with federal law.
The distribution policy must meet the requirements of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, a federal law that mandates that Indian gaming revenues must fund tribal government operations and programs, provide for the general welfare of the tribe, and promote economic development.
In support of the distribution policy, BFC member Council Delegate Tom Chee (Shiprock) recommended that the gaming revenues benefit all 110 chapters, rather than the host chapters in which the gaming facilities are located.
"I understand that the host chapters have played a major role in aiding to develop and advocate for the casinos in their area, however it is important to keep in mind that the revenues need to benefit all Navajo communities," Chee said. "This is an effort that involved the entire Nation, and we can now partake in the success of our gaming."
At the conclusion of the discussion, Nez said he was glad to see the distribution policy finalized and thanked all those involved with its development.
"I appreciate the tremendous support that this proposed policy has received thus far. Many people contributed to this effort and I look forward to seeing their hard work take effect in the near future," Nez said.