New Mexico has a stormy gambling history. When the IGRA was passed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the American Indian casino bandwagon. Politics assured that wouldn’t be the situation.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a panel in 1990 to create a compact with New Mexico American Indian tribes. When the task force arrived at an agreement with 2 important local bands a year later, Governor King declined to sign the agreement. He would hold up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.
When a new governor took office in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that Native betting in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the contract with the Indian tribes, anti-wagering forces were able to tie the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had out stepped his bounds in signing the compact, thus costing the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.
It required the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the ball rolling on a full contract between the State of New Mexico and its Native tribes. A decade had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, including Native casino Bingo.
The non-profit Bingo industry has increased since 1999. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game owners acquired only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed a million dollars in 2001. Non-profit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since that time. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the owners.
Bingo is categorically beloved in New Mexico. All sorts of operators try for a bit of the action. With hope, the politicos are done batting around gambling as an important matter like they did back in the 1990’s. That is probably hopeful thinking.