26 May 21

New Mexico has a complex gambling background. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the Amerindian casino craze. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a panel in 1990 to discuss an accord with New Mexico American Indian tribes. When the task force arrived at an agreement with 2 prominent local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took over in 1995, it appeared that American Indian wagering in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the compact with the Amerindian tribes, anti-gambling groups were able to hold the contract up in courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing the deal, therefore denying the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It required the CNA, passed by the New Mexico government, to get the process moving on a full compact amongst the State of New Mexico and its Amerindian tribes. A decade had been burned for gaming in New Mexico, including Native casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo industry has grown from Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico charity game operators brought in just $3,048. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have grown constantly since that time. 2005 saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.

Bingo is certainly favored in New Mexico. All sorts of owners look for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting around gambling as a key issue like they did back in the 90’s. That’s most likely hopeful thinking.


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