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Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a bitter gaming background. When the IGRA was signed by the House in 1989, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the Indian casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that would not be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a panel in 1990 to negotiate a compact with New Mexico American Indian bands. When the panel came to an accord with two big local tribes 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 appeared that Amerindian gaming in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the compact with the Amerindian tribes, anti-gaming groups were able to hold the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the deal, therefore costing the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.

It took the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico government, to get the ball rolling on a full contract amongst the State of New Mexico and its American Indian bands. A decade had been squandered for gambling in New Mexico, which includes Amerindian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo business has increased from 1999. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game providers brought in just $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since that time. 2005 saw the greatest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.

Bingo is certainly popular in New Mexico. All types of providers look for a bit of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting around gambling as an important issue like they did in the 1990’s. That is most likely wishful thinking.

Posted in Bingo.


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