Bingo in New Mexico

September 21st, 2021 Chandler Leave a comment Go to comments

New Mexico has a stormy gaming past. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed by Congress in 1989, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the Native casino craze. Politics assured that would not be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a working group in Nineteen Ninety to draft a contract with New Mexico American Indian tribes. When the working group arrived at an accord with two big 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 Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that Indian wagering in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the accord with the Amerindian tribes, anti-gaming forces were able to tie the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the compact, thereby denying the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It took the CNA, passed by the New Mexico government, to get the process moving on a full compact between the State of New Mexico and its Native bands. A decade had been burned for gambling in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo industry has increased from 1999. That year, New Mexico not for profit game providers acquired only $3,048. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since then. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the providers.

Bingo is certainly beloved in New Mexico. All sorts of operators try for a slice of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are through batting over gambling as a key issue like they did in the 1990’s. That is most likely wishful thinking.

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