Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a bitter gambling background. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the Amerindian casino craze. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a task force in Nineteen Ninety to negotiate a compact with New Mexico Indian tribes. When the working group came to an agreement with two big local bands a year later, the Governor declined to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it appeared that Indian wagering in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the contract with the Native bands, anti-gambling forces were able to hold the contract up in the courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had out stepped his bounds in signing the compact, thereby denying the government of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It took the CNA, passed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the process moving on a full accord amongst the Government of New Mexico and its Indian bands. A decade had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, including Native casino Bingo.

The nonprofit Bingo industry has gotten bigger since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico charity game owners acquired only $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since that time. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the greatest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.

Bingo is categorically popular in New Mexico. All sorts of operators look for a piece of the pie. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting over gambling as a key issue like they did in the 90’s. That’s without doubt hopeful thinking.


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