Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort in Flagstaff, Arizona
Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise counts four casinos in Arizona and New Mexico and more than 1,100 employees (in addition to creating more than 7,400 direct, indirect and induced jobs when fully operational).
A gaming powerhouse, the Tribe’s casinos and its workforce took a hard hit with the coronavirus pandemic. The Navajo community has suffered one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country. In May, the Nation passed New York City and New Jersey with the highest positive test rate per capita.
The Tribe’s four casinos closed in March through the end of August. The gaming enterprise continued to pay its employees through late July, but Navajo Gaming’s financial resources recently started to run low.
“We hope to bring our team members back in an expeditious manner and, despite the challenges of the pandemic, re-stabilize our most important asset, our team,” said Navajo Gaming CEO Brian Parrish.
A testament to that sentiment, Navajo Nation leaders approved nearly $25 million in federal coronavirus funding to pay its 1,100 casino employees to avoid layoffs and loss of employee healthcare. That $24.6 million is part of a $475 million spending package approved by the Navajo Nation Council and President Jonathan Nez last week.
“We are grateful for the support of the Navajo Nation leadership during these challenging times,” said Navajo Gaming Board of Directors Chairman Quincy Natay in a statement.