20 Feb 16

New Mexico has a rocky gaming background. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the American Indian casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that would not be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a panel in 1990 to discuss an accord with New Mexico Amerindian bands. When the panel came to an agreement with 2 important local bands a year later, the Governor declined to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took office in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that Amerindian betting in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the compact with the Native tribes, anti-gambling forces were able to hold the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the compact, thereby costing the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It took the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the process moving on a full contract between the State of New Mexico and its American Indian bands. A decade had been squandered for gambling in New Mexico, which includes Native casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo industry has grown since 1999. That year, New Mexico non-profit game providers acquired only $3,048. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Non-profit Bingo earnings have increased constantly since then. Two Thousand and Five saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the operators.

Bingo is certainly favored in New Mexico. All sorts of owners try for a slice of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are through batting over gaming as a hot button matter like they did back in the 90’s. That’s most likely hopeful thinking.


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