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Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a rocky gaming past. When the IGRA was passed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the Native casino craze. Politics guaranteed that would not be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a task force in 1990 to create an accord with New Mexico Native tribes. When the panel arrived at an agreement with two big local bands a year later, the Governor declined to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it appeared that Native gambling in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the accord with the Amerindian bands, anti-gaming forces were able to hold the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing the accord, therefore costing the government of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

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

The nonprofit Bingo industry has increased since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game operators acquired only $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo earnings have increased steadily since that time. Two Thousand and Five saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the operators.

Bingo is apparently favored in New Mexico. All sorts of owners try for a bit of the pie. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting over gambling as a hot button issue like they did back in the 90’s. That is most likely wishful thinking.

Posted in Bingo.


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