Navajos open up Fire Rock Casino

Dec 9, 2008 12:01 AM
by GT Staff |

Thousands of eager visitors lined up for the grand opening of the Fire Rock Casino in Church Rock, New Mexico, near Gallup, on Wednesday, Nov. 19.

The new casino is the first-ever run by the Navajo Nation which long resisted delving into the enterprise of gaming like many of their Indian counterparts. The 64,000-square foot casino is expected to bring in new income to the tribe through slot machines, poker and bingo.

The Fire Rock Casino features 472 slot machines, 10 table games, a poker room and a bingo hall that seats 400 people and is expected to generate about $32 annually for the Navajo Nation or about one-fifth of the tribe’s annual budget. The casino also has two restaurants.

In late 2007, after a thorough proposal and interview process, the Navajo Gaming Enterprise chose an architectural team to design the first-ever casino on Navajo land according to the casino’s website. The casino’s team made a serious commitment to representing the geography of Navajo land in the color scheme throughout the new Fire Rock Casino.

“It was particularly appealing when JCJ Architecture teamed with Dyron Murphy Architects to ensure we hired Navajo talent and represented Navajo design in the building,” said Bob Winter, Chief Executive Officer of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. “They brought years of experience and [have] proven sensitivity of Native culture to each of their projects, which have been amazing. Their work speaks for itself.”

The casino is located on old route 66, one-half mile east of I-40, at exit 26 in Church Rock, close to the Land of Enchantment’s Red Rock State Park, often photographed for its natural scenic beauty.

For more information, log on to the casino’s website at navajonationcasino.org.