31 Dec 21

New Mexico has a rocky gambling history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act 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 bandwagon. Politics assured that would not be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a working group in 1990 to create a compact with New Mexico Amerindian tribes. When the working group came to an agreement with 2 prominent local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took office in 1995, it seemed that Indian betting in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the accord with the Amerindian bands, anti-gaming groups were able to hold the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the 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, signed by the New Mexico house, to get the process moving on a full accord amongst the Government of New Mexico and its Amerindian bands. A decade had been lost for gaming in New Mexico, which includes American Indian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo industry has gotten bigger from 1999. That year, New Mexico non-profit game operators acquired only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have grown constantly since then. Two Thousand and Five saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the owners.

Bingo is certainly beloved in New Mexico. All kinds of operators look for a bit of the pie. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting over gaming as a key issue like they did in the 1990’s. That is probably wishful thinking.


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