Bingo in New Mexico


New Mexico has a bitter gaming history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the American Indian casino craze. Politics guaranteed that would not be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a panel in 1990 to create a compact with New Mexico Native tribes. When the panel arrived at an agreement with 2 prominent local tribes a year later, Governor King declined to sign the bargain. He would hold up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

When a new governor took over in 1995, it seemed that Amerindian gambling in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the compact with the Native bands, anti-gaming forces were able to hold the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing a deal, thereby denying the government of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It took the CNA, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the ball rolling on a full accord between the State of New Mexico and its Native tribes. 10 years had been squandered for gambling in New Mexico, including American Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo business has grown from Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico not for profit game operators brought in only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have grown steadily since then. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the greatest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the operators.

Bingo is clearly popular in New Mexico. All types of owners try for a piece of the action. With hope, the politicos are through batting over gaming as an important issue like they did back in the 1990’s. That is probably hopeful thinking.

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