New Mexico Bingo

New Mexico has a stormy gaming history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by Congress in 1989, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the American Indian casino craze. Politics guaranteed that would not be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a panel in Nineteen Ninety to create a compact with New Mexico Native tribes. When the panel arrived at an accord with two important 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 Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that American Indian gambling in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the compact with the Native tribes, anti-gaming groups were able to tie the deal up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing the compact, therefore costing the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It required the CNA, signed by the New Mexico government, to get the process moving on a full compact amongst the State of New Mexico and its Amerindian bands. 10 years had been burned for gaming in New Mexico, including Native casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo industry has increased from 1999. That year, New Mexico charity game operators brought in only $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since that time. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the greatest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the providers.

Bingo is categorically favored in New Mexico. All sorts of operators look for a slice of the pie. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting around gaming as a key issue like they did in the 1990’s. That’s most likely hopeful thinking.

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