New Mexico Bingo

New Mexico has a stormy gaming background. When the IGRA was signed by Congress in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico would 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 task force in 1990 to discuss a contract with New Mexico Amerindian tribes. When the working group arrived at an agreement with two 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 Native wagering in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the accord with the American Indian bands, anti-gaming groups were able to hold the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the compact, thus denying the government of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It took the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico government, to get the process moving on a full accord between the State of New Mexico and its American Indian tribes. A decade had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, which includes American Indian casino Bingo.

The nonprofit Bingo business has gotten bigger since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico not for profit game owners brought in only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded a million dollars in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since then. 2005 witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.

Bingo is certainly popular in New Mexico. All kinds of operators try for a piece of the action. With hope, the politicians are done batting around gambling as a hot button matter like they did in the 90’s. That’s most likely wishful thinking.

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