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Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a complex gambling background. When the IGRA 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 Indian casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a panel in Nineteen Ninety to create a compact with New Mexico Native bands. When the panel came to an agreement with 2 prominent local tribes 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 Governor Gary Johnson passed the compact with the Indian bands, anti-gaming forces were able to hold the accord up in courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing the accord, thus costing 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 legislature, to get the process moving on a full accord between the State of New Mexico and its Native tribes. 10 years had been burned for gaming in New Mexico, including Amerindian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo industry has increased since 1999. In that year, New Mexico not for profit game operators brought in just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Non-profit Bingo revenues have increased steadily since that time. Two Thousand and Five saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the owners.

Bingo is certainly popular in New Mexico. All types of operators look for a bit of the pie. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting over gambling as an important issue like they did in the 1990’s. That’s without doubt wishful thinking.

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