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Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a rocky gaming background. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the American Indian casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a task force in Nineteen Ninety to create a compact with New Mexico Native bands. When the panel arrived at an agreement with two prominent local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the agreement. He would hold 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 signed the contract with the American Indian tribes, anti-gaming groups were able to hold the contract up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the accord, therefore denying the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It required the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico government, to get the process moving on a full contract between the Government of New Mexico and its Native tribes. 10 years had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, including American Indian casino Bingo.

The nonprofit Bingo industry has increased since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico not for profit game owners brought in just $3,048. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Non-profit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since that time. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the providers.

Bingo is categorically favored in New Mexico. All sorts of operators look for a slice of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting around gaming as a key factor like they did in the 90’s. That is most likely wishful thinking.

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