New Mexico has a bitter gambling background. When the IGRA was signed by the House in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to cash in on the Indian casino craze. Politics assured that wouldn’t be the case.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a task force in Nineteen Ninety to draft a contract with New Mexico Native tribes. When the working group arrived at an agreement with two prominent local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the bargain. He held up a deal until 1994.
When a new governor took office in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that Amerindian wagering in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the accord with the Native tribes, anti-gambling forces 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 accord, thus costing the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.
It took the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico house, to get the process moving on a full compact amongst the Government of New Mexico and its Indian bands. 10 years had been squandered for gaming in New Mexico, which includes Amerindian casino Bingo.
The non-profit Bingo industry has grown since 1999. That year, New Mexico charity game providers acquired just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo revenues have increased constantly since then. 2005 saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the owners.
Bingo is clearly beloved in New Mexico. All kinds of providers look for a bit of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are through batting over gaming as a hot button issue like they did back in the 90’s. That’s probably wishful thinking.