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Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a stormy gaming past. When the IGRA was signed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the American Indian casino craze. Politics assured 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 American Indian bands. When the task force arrived at an accord with 2 big 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 office in 1995, it appeared that American Indian wagering in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the accord with the Native bands, anti-gaming forces were able to hold the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, therefore costing the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It required the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico government, to get the ball rolling on a full compact between the Government of New Mexico and its Amerindian bands. Ten years had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, which includes American Indian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo business has increased from 1999. In that year, New Mexico charity game owners acquired only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since then. Two Thousand and Five saw the greatest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the providers.

Bingo is certainly popular in New Mexico. All types of operators look for a slice of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting around gambling as a hot button matter like they did back in the 90’s. That’s probably hopeful thinking.

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