New Mexico Bingo

New Mexico has a bitter gambling background. When the IGRA was passed by the House in 1989, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the Amerindian casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a task force in 1990 to discuss an accord with New Mexico Indian bands. When the working group arrived at an accord with 2 prominent local bands a year later, Governor King declined to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took over in 1995, it seemed that Native gambling in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the accord with the Amerindian bands, anti-gambling forces were able to hold the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, thereby denying the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It took the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the ball rolling on a full contract amongst the State of New Mexico and its Indian bands. A decade had been burned for gaming in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo industry has increased from 1999. That year, New Mexico non-profit game owners acquired just $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed a million dollars in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since then. Two Thousand and Five saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the providers.

Bingo is clearly beloved in New Mexico. All kinds of operators try for a piece of the pie. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting over gaming as an important factor like they did in the 1990’s. That’s most likely wishful thinking.

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