New Mexico Bingo

New Mexico has a rocky gambling background. When the IGRA was passed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the Amerindian casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a panel in Nineteen Ninety to negotiate a compact with New Mexico Indian tribes. When the working group came to an agreement with 2 important local bands a year later, the Governor refused to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

When a new governor took office in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that Native gaming in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the accord with the Native tribes, anti-wagering forces were able to tie the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the accord, thereby denying the state of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It required the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the ball rolling on a full contract between the Government of New Mexico and its American Indian bands. A decade had been burned for gaming in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo industry has grown since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico charity game providers acquired only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and passed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo earnings have grown constantly since that time. 2005 witnessed the biggest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the operators.

Bingo is certainly favored in New Mexico. All kinds of owners look for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting around gaming as an important issue like they did back in the 1990’s. That’s probably hopeful thinking.

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