Bingo in New Mexico

by Brennen on July 28th, 2022

New Mexico has a complex gaming past. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed 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 assembled a task force in Nineteen Ninety to create a compact with New Mexico Indian bands. When the working group came to an accord with two big local bands a year later, Governor King declined to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took office in 1995, it seemed that Amerindian betting in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the contract with the Indian tribes, anti-gaming forces were able to hold the accord up in courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, thus costing the government of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It required the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the ball rolling on a full accord between the State of New Mexico and its Amerindian bands. A decade had been lost for gaming in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo industry has increased since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico not for profit game operators acquired just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have grown steadily since that time. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the biggest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the owners.

Bingo is clearly favored in New Mexico. All types of owners look for a bit of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting around gaming as a hot button factor like they did back in the 1990’s. That is without doubt hopeful thinking.

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