New Mexico has a rocky gaming history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by the House in 1989, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to get on the Native casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that would not be the case.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a panel in Nineteen Ninety to discuss a compact with New Mexico Native tribes. When the task force came to an agreement with two big local tribes a year later, Governor King declined to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until 1994.
When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it appeared that American Indian gaming in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the compact with the American Indian bands, anti-gambling forces were able to hold the accord up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the accord, thus costing the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.
It took the CNA, signed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the ball rolling on a full accord amongst the State of New Mexico and its Native bands. 10 years had been lost for gaming in New Mexico, which includes American Indian casino Bingo.
The non-profit Bingo business has increased from 1999. That year, New Mexico non-profit game providers brought in just $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo earnings have grown constantly since then. 2005 witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the operators.
Bingo is certainly popular in New Mexico. All sorts of providers look for a bit of the pie. With hope, the politicians are done batting around gaming as an important matter like they did in the 90’s. That’s without doubt wishful thinking.