9 Sep 21

New Mexico has a stormy gambling past. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by Congress in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico would be one of the states to get on the Amerindian casino craze. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a panel in 1990 to negotiate a contract with New Mexico Native bands. When the panel came to an agreement with two big local bands a year later, Governor King declined to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it appeared that American Indian wagering in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the compact with the Indian tribes, anti-gaming forces were able to tie the deal up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, therefore denying the state of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It required the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico government, to get the ball rolling on a full accord between the State of New Mexico and its Indian tribes. A decade had been squandered for gambling in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo business has grown from 1999. That year, New Mexico charity game providers brought in only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since then. 2005 witnessed the greatest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the providers.

Bingo is clearly favored in New Mexico. All sorts of providers try for a bit of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting over gaming as an important matter like they did back in the 1990’s. That’s without doubt hopeful thinking.


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