New Mexico has a rocky gaming past. When the IGRA was signed by the House in 1989, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the Amerindian casino craze. Politics assured that wouldn’t be the case.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a working group in Nineteen Ninety to draft a contract with New Mexico Amerindian bands. When the panel came to an accord with two big local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the bargain. He would hold up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.
When a new governor took office in 1995, it seemed that Amerindian gambling in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the contract with the Native bands, anti-wagering groups were able to hold the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing a deal, thus costing the state of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.
It took the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the ball rolling on a full compact amongst the Government of New Mexico and its Native tribes. Ten years had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.
The nonprofit Bingo business has gotten bigger from Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico charity game providers brought in just $3,048. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and surpassed one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Not for profit Bingo earnings have increased steadily since then. 2005 witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the owners.
Bingo is clearly favored in New Mexico. All types of operators look for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting around gambling as an important matter like they did in the 1990’s. That’s most likely hopeful thinking.