Santa Ysabel Casino Closes Its Doors

Officials blames bad timing and county issues for the closure

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It seems as though Santa Ysabel Casino’s lucky streak has run out, and about 115 people are out of work as the casino goes out of business.

The casino, situated on the Santa Ysabel Indian Reservation at 25575 Highway 79, officially stopped its commercial gaming Monday.

In a statement from the Santa Ysabel Gaming Commission, officials cited bad timing as a main reason for the closure. The casino opened in April 2007, right before the state fell into one of its worst economic downturns.

In 2012, the casino tried to file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11, but the court denied the request.

Casino officials also blamed county leadership for the closure, saying in the press release that they were “confronted by an intransigent county government unwilling to renegotiate its financial agreement with the Tribe in the face of economic hardship.”

County Supervisor Dianne Jacobs fired back at the charge, calling it absurd on her Twitter page.

She released this statement in response: “The claim by tribal leaders that county government was a factor in the casino closure is absurd. We simply asked them to live up to their financial obligations and honor the agreement they struck with the county in 2005. Taxpayers deserve nothing less.”

Santa Ysabel Tribal Chairman Virgil Perez said his biggest priority now is to get those former employees back to work.

“One of the most difficult things for me is the casino employees who will now be unemployed as a result of the closure of our casino,” said Perez in a statement Monday. “I am committed to the Tribe’s exploration of other business ventures, including gaming on a more limited scale, in order to provide as many employment opportunities as possible for those affected by the casino’s closure.”

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