Courtesy Northern Edge Navajo Casino
Northern Edge Navajo Casino is in Upper Fruitland, New Mexico.

Northern Edge Navajo Casino Celebrates Four Years of Stimulating Economy


Northern Edge Navajo Casino turns four this month.

The tribe's third casino opened on January 16, 2012, in the Upper Fruitland Chapter, near Farmington, New Mexico.

The Navajo Nation entered the gaming arena 20 years behind most tribes, finally voting to approve gaming in 2004. The tribal gaming enterprise launched in September 2006. Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise opened its first casino, Fire Rock Navajo Casino in Church Rock Chapter, near Gallup, New Mexico, in November 2008.

In January 2013, Derrick Watchman became the first Navajo tribal member to lead the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise as CEO.

“We are proud that travelers to the four corners area and residents of the area continue to seek out our fine gaming and hospitality options at Northern Edge Casino,” stated Derrick Watchman, CEO of Navajo Gaming. “We are grateful for support from the Community, Upper Fruitland Chapter, Farmington, The Navajo Nation President and his administration, the Speaker, Navajo Nation Council and its committees, the Gaming Board, and talented Northern Edge employees whose hard work the past four years has created so much success and allowed us to create hundreds of Navajo jobs, provide valuable job training, and distribute millions of dollars in revenue to the Nation.”

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Northern Edge Navajo Casino is nestled in the Four Corners area between Mount Blanca, Mount Taylor, Mount Hesperus and the San Francisco Peaks. Among its dining options is the top-notch Cedar Bow Restaurant. The casino features slots, table games, a poker room and live entertainment every weekend. Its award-winning architecture and art incorporate traditional Navajo symbolism. The Legend of the Navajo Hero Twins plays a prominent role in the design, reflected in the two twin towers. Other elements of the story reflected in the casino’s design include rainbow motifs that represent the twins’ method of transportation. The portico, which faces east to greet the rising sun, also ties the twins to their father, who in the story is the sun.

RELATED: Storytelling Architecture: 5 More Native Casinos That Tell Stories

Over four years, Northern Edge Navajo Casino has reached many achievements, including employing nearly 300 employees of whom 86 percent are Navajo; sponsoring and supporting numerous community and cultural events; roviding thousands of dollars to Navajo and community vendors such as local farmers, Navajo Beef ranchers, artisans and musicians; and offering Navajo Ten Tournaments, a popular card game within the Navajo Nation and similar to rummy games (several Navajo Ten Tournaments are scheduled for 2016).

RELATED: Navajo Nation Economic Growth Creating Jobs and True Independence

Four-Year Celebration

The fourth anniversary celebration will feature promotions and multiple prize giveaways, as well as complimentary punch and cake  on January 16 and 17.

Northern Edge Navajo Casino will be debuting a new live $5 casino chip in honor of the anniversary. These commemorative chips are collectable limited editions, and can be played on Northern Edge table games.

In addition, Northern Edge’s January promotion is a $40,000 Anniversary Celebration with 20 winners each day. Players can earn entries for hourly drawings every Friday and Saturday beginning January 8 from 6-10 p.m.

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