Bingo in New Mexico

by Brennen on July 12th, 2019

New Mexico has a complex gambling past. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by the House in 1989, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the Native casino bandwagon. Politics assured that would not be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a panel in Nineteen Ninety to discuss an accord with New Mexico Native tribes. When the working group came to an agreement with 2 big local tribes a year later, Governor King refused to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

When a new governor took office in Nineteen Ninety Five, it appeared that Amerindian gaming in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the accord with the Indian bands, anti-wagering forces were able to hold the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing the accord, therefore costing the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It took the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the process moving on a full compact between the Government of New Mexico and its Native bands. A decade had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.

The nonprofit Bingo industry has grown from Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico charity game providers acquired just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo revenues have grown steadily since then. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the greatest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the owners.

Bingo is clearly popular in New Mexico. All sorts of operators look for a bit of the pie. With hope, the politicians are through batting around gaming as a key issue like they did back in the 1990’s. That’s most likely wishful thinking.

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