New Mexico Bingo

New Mexico has a bitter gambling history. When the IGRA was signed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it looked like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the Indian casino craze. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the situation.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a task force in Nineteen Ninety to draft a contract with New Mexico Amerindian tribes. When the panel arrived at an agreement with two prominent local tribes a year later, Governor King declined to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

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

It required the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico government, to get the ball rolling on a full compact amongst the Government of New Mexico and its Indian bands. A decade had been burned for gambling in New Mexico, which includes Amerindian casino Bingo.

The not for profit Bingo business has increased from 1999. In that year, New Mexico charity game operators acquired just $3,048. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Non-profit Bingo revenues have grown constantly since then. Two Thousand and Five saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.

Bingo is certainly popular in New Mexico. All kinds of owners try for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting around gaming as a key factor like they did in the 1990’s. That’s probably wishful thinking.

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