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New Mexico Bingo

New Mexico has a stormy gambling history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by Congress in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the Indian casino craze. Politics assured that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a panel in 1990 to negotiate a contract with New Mexico Native bands. When the working group came to an accord with two prominent local bands 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 Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that American Indian gaming in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the contract with the American Indian tribes, anti-gambling groups were able to hold the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the accord, thereby denying the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It took the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the process moving on a full compact between the State of New Mexico and its Amerindian bands. 10 years had been squandered for gaming in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo business has gotten bigger since 1999. That year, New Mexico not for profit game operators acquired only $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo earnings have grown constantly since then. 2005 witnessed the greatest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the owners.

Bingo is categorically popular in New Mexico. All kinds of owners look for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting over gambling as a hot button issue like they did in the 1990’s. That is without doubt wishful thinking.

Posted in Bingo.


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