New Mexico has a rocky gambling history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed by the House in 1989, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the American Indian casino craze. Politics assured that would not be the situation.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a panel in 1990 to draft a contract with New Mexico Indian bands. When the panel arrived at an accord with 2 prominent local tribes a year later, the Governor declined to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until 1994.
When a new governor took over in 1995, it appeared that Native gambling in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the compact with the Amerindian bands, anti-gambling groups were able to tie the deal up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, thereby costing the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.
It took the Compact Negotiation Act, signed by the New Mexico government, to get the process moving on a full compact between the State of New Mexico and its Native bands. A decade had been squandered for gaming in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.
The not for profit Bingo industry has grown since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico non-profit game owners brought in just $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in 2001. Non-profit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since then. 2005 witnessed the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.
Bingo is certainly popular in New Mexico. All sorts of owners look for a bit of the action. With hope, the politicians are done batting around gaming as a key issue like they did in the 1990’s. That’s without doubt hopeful thinking.