28 Oct 15

New Mexico has a bitter gambling 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 American Indian casino craze. Politics assured that would not be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a panel in Nineteen Ninety to draft a compact with New Mexico Amerindian bands. When the task force came to an accord with 2 big local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the agreement. He would hold up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that American Indian betting in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the compact with the Native bands, anti-wagering groups were able to tie the deal up in the courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, therefore costing the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It required the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico government, to get the process moving on a full accord between the State of New Mexico and its Amerindian tribes. A decade had been burned for gambling in New Mexico, which includes American Indian casino Bingo.

The nonprofit Bingo industry has grown from 1999. That year, New Mexico not for profit game operators acquired only $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Non-profit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since then. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the providers.

Bingo is certainly beloved in New Mexico. All sorts of providers look for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting over gambling as an important matter like they did back in the 90’s. That’s without doubt wishful thinking.


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