Raton, New Mexico Considers Indigenous Community for Casino Development

Raton, a small town located 100 miles northeast of Taos, New Mexico, is seeking to bolster its economy by teaming up with the Pueblo of Picuris. The Pueblo of Picuris, one of the state’s smallest Indigenous communities, with a population of about 300, has attracted the interest of Raton officials. Negotiations between the city and the pueblo regarding the possibility of a gaming facility have been ongoing for nearly three years, according to Raton Mayor Neil Segotta, as reported by Colorado Public Radio.

The proposed development aims to make use of New Mexico’s tribal/state compact, which allows casino-style gaming exclusively on tribal lands. The transfer of land to the Pueblo of Picuris could clear the way for the construction and operation of a casino complex, providing a potential economic boost to Raton.

Former Raton city manager Scott Berry emphasized the project’s potential to stimulate economic growth during a recent city commission meeting. He expressed optimism about the positive impact the casino could have on tourism and job creation in the region.

City manager Richard Mestas echoed Berry’s sentiments, highlighting the expected benefits of the project. Mestas disclosed plans for the development to include not only a casino, but also the potential for additional amenities such as a hotel or restaurant. He also emphasized the city’s commitment to providing utilities to support the project.

While the commission approved the resolution, Mayor Pro-tem Lori Chatterley clarified that it does not constitute a binding agreement. Chatterley emphasized that the resolution serves as a statement of intent to proceed with discussions and does not commit the city to the land transfer at this stage.

As plans progress, a meeting between Pueblo of Picuris leaders and city officials is scheduled for later this month to further explore the potential partnership and its implications for both parties.