20 Dec 18

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

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a panel in Nineteen Ninety to create an accord with New Mexico American Indian tribes. When the task force came to 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 Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that American Indian gambling in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the accord with the Amerindian bands, anti-gambling forces were able to tie the contract up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the accord, thus denying the state of New Mexico 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 process moving on a full compact amongst the Government of New Mexico and its Native bands. A decade had been squandered for gaming in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.

The nonprofit Bingo industry has grown from 1999. That year, New Mexico non-profit game owners acquired only $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded a million dollars in 2001. Not for profit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since that time. Two Thousand and Five saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the operators.

Bingo is clearly beloved in New Mexico. All sorts of operators look for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting around gaming as a hot button issue like they did in the 1990’s. That’s probably wishful thinking.


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