New Mexico has a rocky gambling past. When the IGRA was passed by the House in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the Amerindian casino bandwagon. Politics assured that wouldn’t be the case.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a task force in 1990 to create a compact with New Mexico American Indian tribes. When the task force came to an accord with 2 important local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.
When a new governor took office in 1995, it appeared that Indian wagering in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the accord with the Indian tribes, anti-gaming forces were able to tie the accord up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing a deal, thereby costing the state of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees 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 State of New Mexico and its Amerindian tribes. A decade had been squandered for gaming in New Mexico, including Native casino Bingo.
The nonprofit Bingo industry has gotten bigger from 1999. In that year, New Mexico not for profit game operators brought in only $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo earnings have grown constantly since then. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.
Bingo is certainly favored in New Mexico. All types of operators look for a slice of the pie. With hope, the politicians are through batting over gambling as an important factor like they did back in the 1990’s. That is probably hopeful thinking.