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20Jul/220

New Mexico Bingo


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New Mexico has a complex gaming background. 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 Native casino craze. Politics guaranteed that would not be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a working group in Nineteen Ninety to create an accord with New Mexico American Indian tribes. When the working group came to an accord with 2 prominent local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the agreement. He would hold up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it appeared that Indian gambling 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 contract up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the compact, thus denying the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It took the CNA, passed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the process moving on a full compact between the State of New Mexico and its American Indian bands. A decade had been burned for gambling in New Mexico, which includes Native casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo business has grown since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico charity game providers acquired just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since then. 2005 witnessed the greatest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the operators.

Bingo is categorically beloved in New Mexico. All kinds of providers try for a piece of the pie. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting over gambling as a hot button issue like they did back in the 1990's. That's probably wishful thinking.

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