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New Mexico Bingo
February 9th, 2016 by Kirsten

New Mexico has a rocky gaming past. When the IGRA was passed by Congress in 1989, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to get on the Indian casino craze. Politics assured that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a working group in Nineteen Ninety to discuss a contract with New Mexico Native tribes. When the task force arrived at an accord with two important local bands a year later, the Governor declined to sign the agreement. He would hold up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took office in 1995, it seemed that Amerindian betting in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the contract with the American Indian tribes, anti-gaming groups were able to tie the accord up in courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the accord, thus costing the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It took the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the process moving on a full contract amongst the State of New Mexico and its Indian bands. 10 years had been squandered for gaming in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.

The nonprofit Bingo industry has gotten bigger from 1999. That year, New Mexico not for profit game operators acquired only $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Non-profit Bingo earnings have grown constantly since then. 2005 saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the owners.

Bingo is categorically favored in New Mexico. All types of operators try for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting over gambling as a hot button matter like they did back in the 90’s. That is probably hopeful thinking.


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