Bingo in New Mexico

Sunday, 9. April 2017

New Mexico has a stormy gaming past. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, 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 case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a panel in 1990 to negotiate an accord with New Mexico Indian tribes. When the panel arrived at an agreement with 2 important 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 appeared that American Indian gaming in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the accord with the Indian bands, anti-wagering groups were able to tie the contract up in the courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, therefore costing the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It required the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the process moving on a full accord between the State of New Mexico and its Indian bands. A decade had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo business has increased since 1999. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game operators brought in just $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since then. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the owners.

Bingo is clearly beloved in New Mexico. All types of providers look for a bit of the pie. With hope, the politicos are through batting around gambling as an important issue like they did back in the 90’s. That is without doubt hopeful thinking.

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