Bingo in New Mexico Don’t Drink … Play!
Nov 092017

New Mexico has a complex gambling history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by Congress in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the Indian casino bandwagon. Politics assured that would not be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a working group in Nineteen Ninety to create a contract with New Mexico Indian tribes. When the panel came to an accord with 2 prominent local tribes a year later, the Governor refused to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took office in 1995, it appeared that Indian gambling in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the contract with the American Indian bands, anti-gambling groups were able to hold the accord up in courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, therefore denying the state of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It took the CNA, signed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the process moving on a full compact between the State of New Mexico and its Indian tribes. A decade had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo business has gotten bigger from Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game owners brought in only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo revenues have increased steadily since that time. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the owners.

Bingo is categorically favored in New Mexico. All sorts of owners look for a slice of the pie. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting over gambling as a hot button factor like they did back in the 90’s. That is probably wishful thinking.

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