Bingo in New Mexico

Tuesday, 29. December 2015

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

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a task force in 1990 to create a compact with New Mexico Indian bands. When the working group came to an accord with 2 important local tribes a year later, Governor King refused to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

When a new governor took over in 1995, it appeared that American Indian gaming in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the accord with the Indian tribes, anti-gaming forces were able to hold the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the compact, therefore costing the government of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It required the CNA, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the ball rolling on a full contract amongst the Government of New Mexico and its American Indian tribes. A decade had been squandered for gambling in New Mexico, which includes Amerindian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo business has grown since 1999. That year, New Mexico non-profit game operators brought in only $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded one million dollars in 2001. Non-profit Bingo earnings have increased steadily since that time. 2005 witnessed the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the providers.

Bingo is certainly favored in New Mexico. All types of operators look for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are through batting over gambling as a hot button factor like they did in the 90’s. That is most likely wishful thinking.

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