8 Jul 21

New Mexico has a rocky gaming history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the Indian casino craze. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a working group in 1990 to draft an accord with New Mexico American Indian bands. When the working group arrived at an accord with two big local tribes a year later, the Governor declined 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 appeared that Native betting in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the contract with the Amerindian bands, anti-gambling groups were able to tie the contract up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the deal, thus costing the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It took the CNA, signed by the New Mexico house, to get the ball rolling on a full accord between the State of New Mexico and its Native bands. 10 years had been burned for gambling in New Mexico, including American Indian casino Bingo.

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

Bingo is apparently beloved in New Mexico. All sorts of operators try for a slice of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are through batting over gambling as an important issue like they did in the 1990’s. That’s without doubt hopeful thinking.


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