22 Nov 17

New Mexico has a complex gambling past. When the IGRA was passed by the House in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the American Indian casino craze. Politics guaranteed that would not be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a panel in 1990 to draft a contract with New Mexico Native tribes. When the task force arrived at an accord with 2 prominent local tribes a year later, the Governor declined to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

When a new governor took over in 1995, it seemed that Indian gaming in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the accord with the American Indian bands, anti-wagering forces were able to tie the contract up in courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing a deal, therefore denying the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It took the CNA, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the process moving on a full contract between the State of New Mexico and its Amerindian bands. Ten years had been burned for gaming in New Mexico, including American Indian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo industry has gotten bigger since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico not for profit game owners brought in only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since then. Two Thousand and Five saw the greatest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the providers.

Bingo is clearly popular in New Mexico. All kinds of providers try for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting around gambling as a hot button issue like they did in the 1990’s. That’s without doubt wishful thinking.


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