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Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a bitter gambling history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the American Indian casino craze. Politics assured that would not be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a task force in Nineteen Ninety to draft a contract with New Mexico Amerindian tribes. When the task force came to an accord with 2 important local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the agreement. He would hold up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

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 passed the compact with the Amerindian tribes, anti-wagering groups were able to hold the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing the accord, thereby costing the government of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It took the CNA, passed by the New Mexico government, to get the process moving on a full compact amongst the Government of New Mexico and its Amerindian tribes. 10 years had been lost for gaming in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo industry has grown from 1999. That year, New Mexico charity game providers acquired just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in 2001. Non-profit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since then. 2005 saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the providers.

Bingo is apparently favored in New Mexico. All types of owners look for a piece of the pie. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting around gaming as a key factor like they did back in the 1990’s. That’s probably hopeful thinking.

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