Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a complex gambling history. When the IGRA was signed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the Amerindian casino bandwagon. Politics assured that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a working group in 1990 to draft an accord with New Mexico Indian tribes. When the working group came to an agreement with 2 big local bands a year later, the Governor declined to sign the agreement. He would hold up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took office in 1995, it seemed that Indian gambling in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the accord with the Indian tribes, anti-gambling groups were able to hold the deal up in the courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing the accord, thereby costing the government of New Mexico many 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 ball rolling on a full contract between the Government of New Mexico and its Amerindian tribes. Ten years had been squandered for gambling in New Mexico, which includes 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. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo revenues have grown steadily since then. 2005 witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the owners.

Bingo is apparently favored in New Mexico. All sorts of owners try for a slice of the action. With hope, the politicians are through batting around gambling as a key matter like they did in the 90’s. That’s most likely hopeful thinking.

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