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Fire Rock's success spurs plans for 3 new casinos

April 3, 2009

WINDOW ROCK, AZ The Fire Rock Casino has been a financial surprise to the Navajo Nation in terms of revenue. Its success has spurred the Navajo Gaming Enterprise to proceed with three more casinos as soon as possible.

Robert Winter, CEO of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise, said the Fire Rock has "almost a 60 percent EBITA" (net profit before interest, tax, and amortization expenses). "There's probably no casino in the United States that has that number. In fact most of their numbers are going down. This is a fantastic number and it seems to be going up.

"We had an initial expansion of 70 slot machines about two weeks ago, and we are now building an expansion in the bingo hall for another 110 slot machines. That expansion should net $23 million a year after all expenses."

Winter said the board has now selected three new casinos it would like to proceed on as quickly as possible.

TWIN ARROWS (Arizona)
The Twin Arrows location is along Interstate Highway 40 in Leupp, Arizona.
It will be a major resort with an extimated cosgt of more than $500 million. The initial phase is estimated at $200 million.

UPPER FRUITLAND (New Mexico)
This will be a permanent structure proposed along the eastern boundary of Upper Fruitland on Navajo Route 36, just southwest of Farmington. An attached hotel is likely. Estimated cost is $70-$80 million.

I-40 & PINTA ROAD (Arizona)
The third project is a travel center-type facility with a casino proposed for Pinta Road off I-40 in Arizona between Navajo and Petrified Forest National Park.

"Altogether, in first phase construction, you're talking probably close to half a billion dollars for all three of facilities, but more importantly, what this means is jobs. We project that all of the facilities (including Fire Rock), once they're up and operating, will employ 3,000 people,"
Winter said. "We project that the payroll for all four casinos will amount to close to $90 million."

Return to Arizona Casinos.


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