New Mexico has a rocky gaming history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed like New Mexico would be one of the states to get on the American Indian casino bandwagon. Politics assured that wouldn’t be the case.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a task force in 1990 to negotiate an accord with New Mexico Amerindian bands. When the task force came to an accord with 2 big local tribes 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 over in 1995, it seemed that Amerindian gaming in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the compact with the Indian bands, anti-gaming groups were able to tie the accord up in the courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the deal, therefore 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, signed by the New Mexico government, to get the process moving on a full contract between the State of New Mexico and its Native bands. A decade had been squandered for gaming in New Mexico, including Amerindian casino Bingo.
The not for profit Bingo industry has grown from 1999. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game operators acquired just $3,048. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and passed one million dollars in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo revenues have grown steadily since then. Two Thousand and Five witnessed the largest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.
Bingo is clearly beloved in New Mexico. All types of operators try for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are done batting around gambling as a key matter like they did in the 90’s. That is probably wishful thinking.