14 Aug 22

New Mexico has a stormy gaming history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed by Congress in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the American Indian casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a panel in 1990 to negotiate a compact with New Mexico American Indian tribes. When the task force came to an accord with 2 prominent local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the bargain. He would hold up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

When a new governor took office in 1995, it appeared that Native gambling in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the compact with the American Indian tribes, anti-gaming groups were able to hold the contract up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that the Governor had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, thereby costing the state of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It required the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the ball rolling on a full contract amongst the State of New Mexico and its American Indian tribes. A decade had been lost for gaming in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo industry has gotten bigger since 1999. In that year, New Mexico charity game providers brought in just $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo revenues have increased steadily since that time. 2005 saw the greatest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the providers.

Bingo is apparently beloved in New Mexico. All sorts of owners look for a slice of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are through batting around gaming as a key factor like they did back in the 90’s. That is most likely hopeful thinking.


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