Bingo in New Mexico

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

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a task force in 1990 to negotiate an accord with New Mexico Amerindian tribes. When the task force arrived at an accord with two prominent local tribes a year later, Governor King declined to sign the agreement. He would hold up a deal until 1994.

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

It required the CNA, signed by the New Mexico house, to get the ball rolling on a full contract amongst the Government of New Mexico and its Indian tribes. A decade had been lost for gaming in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo industry has grown since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico non-profit game providers acquired just $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed a million dollars in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have grown constantly since then. 2005 saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the providers.

Bingo is certainly beloved in New Mexico. All types of providers try for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting around gaming as an important issue like they did back in the 90’s. That’s most likely hopeful thinking.

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