New Mexico has a bitter gaming history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the American Indian casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that would not be the case.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a panel in Nineteen Ninety to discuss an accord with New Mexico Native bands. When the panel arrived at an agreement with two important local tribes a year later, the Governor declined to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.
When a new governor took office in 1995, it appeared that Amerindian betting in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the accord with the Indian tribes, anti-gambling forces were able to tie the deal up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, therefore denying the state of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.
It took the CNA, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the ball rolling on a full contract amongst the State of New Mexico and its Amerindian tribes. 10 years had been burned for gambling in New Mexico, including Native casino Bingo.
The nonprofit Bingo business has increased since 1999. In that year, New Mexico charity game operators brought in just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have grown steadily since then. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.
Bingo is categorically favored in New Mexico. All kinds of providers look for a slice of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting over gambling as a hot button matter like they did in the 90’s. That’s most likely wishful thinking.