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Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a stormy gaming history. When the IGRA was signed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the Native casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that would not be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a task force in 1990 to discuss a contract with New Mexico Indian bands. When the panel arrived at an accord with two big local tribes a year later, Governor King declined to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took office in 1995, it seemed that Native gaming in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the compact with the American Indian tribes, anti-gambling groups were able to hold the contract up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing a deal, thus costing the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It required the CNA, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the process moving on a full contract between the State of New Mexico and its Indian bands. Ten years had been burned for gambling in New Mexico, including American Indian casino Bingo.

The nonprofit Bingo business has increased since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico charity game owners acquired just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since that time. 2005 witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.

Bingo is apparently favored in New Mexico. All types of operators try for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting over gambling as a hot button issue like they did in the 1990’s. That’s probably hopeful thinking.

Posted in Casino.


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