Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a bitter gaming past. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the Native casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a task force in 1990 to discuss a compact with New Mexico Native tribes. When the working group arrived at 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 office in 1995, it appeared that American Indian gaming in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the compact with the Indian bands, anti-gaming forces were able to hold the accord up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that the Governor had out stepped his bounds in signing a deal, thereby costing the government of New Mexico many 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 accord amongst the State of New Mexico and its American Indian tribes. A decade had been squandered for gambling in New Mexico, which includes Native casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo business has gotten bigger since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico charity game operators brought in just $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed one million dollars in 2001. Not for profit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since then. Two Thousand and Five saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the providers.

Bingo is categorically favored in New Mexico. All types of operators look for a slice of the pie. With hope, the politicians are through batting over gaming as an important issue like they did back in the 1990’s. That is probably hopeful thinking.

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