New Mexico has a rocky gaming history. When the IGRA was passed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed like New Mexico would be one of the states to get on the American Indian casino bandwagon. Politics assured that would not be the situation.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a panel in Nineteen Ninety to draft a compact with New Mexico American Indian tribes. When the task force arrived at an agreement with two big local bands a year later, the Governor refused to sign the agreement. He would hold up a deal until 1994.
When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that Native gaming in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the accord with the Native bands, anti-gaming forces were able to hold the contract up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that the Governor had out stepped his bounds in signing the accord, therefore denying the state 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 contract between the Government of New Mexico and its Native bands. 10 years had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, including American Indian casino Bingo.
The not for profit Bingo industry has grown from 1999. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game providers brought in only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and passed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since then. 2005 saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the providers.
Bingo is categorically beloved in New Mexico. All sorts of owners look for a bit of the pie. Hopefully, the politicos are through batting around gambling as an important matter like they did back in the 1990’s. That is without doubt hopeful thinking.