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New Mexico Bingo

New Mexico has a rocky gaming background. When the IGRA was passed by Congress in 1989, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the American Indian casino bandwagon. Politics assured that would not be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a panel in 1990 to discuss a compact with New Mexico Native bands. When the task force came to an agreement with 2 big local tribes a year later, the Governor declined to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took office in Nineteen Ninety Five, it appeared that Native gaming in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the contract with the Native tribes, anti-gaming groups were able to tie the contract up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the deal, thus denying the state of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues 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 compact between the State of New Mexico and its Amerindian bands. A decade had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo industry has grown from Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico charity game providers acquired just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded a million dollars in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo revenues have increased steadily since that time. Two Thousand and Five saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the owners.

Bingo is clearly popular in New Mexico. All types of owners try for a piece of the pie. With hope, the politicians are through batting around gaming as an important issue like they did back in the 1990’s. That’s most likely wishful thinking.

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