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New Mexico Bingo

November 15th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

New Mexico has a bitter gambling past. When the IGRA was passed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the Amerindian casino craze. Politics guaranteed that would not be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a task force in 1990 to negotiate a compact with New Mexico American Indian tribes. When the task force came to an agreement with 2 important local tribes a year later, Governor King refused to sign the bargain. He would hold up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took office in 1995, it seemed that American Indian gaming in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the accord with the Indian tribes, anti-wagering forces were able to tie the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing a deal, thereby costing the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It took the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the ball rolling on a full contract between the Government of New Mexico and its Native bands. A decade had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, including Amerindian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo business has gotten bigger since 1999. That year, New Mexico non-profit game operators brought in only $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since then. Two Thousand and Five saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the owners.

Bingo is certainly popular in New Mexico. All kinds of owners try for a slice of the pie. With hope, the politicians are done batting around gambling as a key issue like they did in the 90’s. That’s without doubt hopeful thinking.

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