New Mexico Bingo

New Mexico has a rocky gambling past. When the IGRA was signed by Congress in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the American Indian casino craze. Politics guaranteed that would not be the case.

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

When a new governor took over in 1995, it appeared that American Indian betting in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the contract with the Native tribes, anti-gaming groups were able to tie the contract up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing a deal, thereby denying the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It took the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico government, to get the ball rolling on a full contract amongst the Government of New Mexico and its American Indian bands. 10 years had been squandered for gaming in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo industry has increased from 1999. That year, New Mexico not for profit game owners acquired only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Non-profit Bingo earnings have grown constantly since then. 2005 saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the providers.

Bingo is certainly popular in New Mexico. All types of providers look for a slice of the pie. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting over gaming as a hot button matter like they did back in the 1990’s. That is most likely wishful thinking.

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