New Mexico has a bitter gaming past. When the IGRA was passed by Congress in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico would be one of the states to get on the Native casino bandwagon. Politics assured that would not be the case.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a working group in 1990 to create a contract with New Mexico American Indian tribes. When the working group came to an agreement with 2 big local tribes a year later, the Governor declined to sign the agreement. He would hold up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.
When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that Indian gambling in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the contract with the Native tribes, anti-wagering forces were able to tie the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the compact, therefore costing the state of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues over the next several years.
It required 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 Indian bands. 10 years had been lost for gaming in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.
The nonprofit Bingo industry has grown from Nineteen Ninety-Nine. That year, New Mexico not for profit game owners brought in only $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Non-profit Bingo revenues have grown constantly since then. Two Thousand and Five saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the operators.
Bingo is clearly popular in New Mexico. All sorts of providers look for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting over gambling as a key factor like they did back in the 90’s. That is probably hopeful thinking.