New Mexico has a complex gaming past. When the IGRA was signed by Congress in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the Indian casino craze. Politics assured that wouldn’t be the situation.
The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a working group in Nineteen Ninety to draft a contract with New Mexico Amerindian bands. When the working group came to an agreement with 2 big local bands a year later, Governor King declined to sign the bargain. He would hold up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.
When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it appeared that American Indian gaming in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed the accord with the American Indian bands, anti-gaming groups were able to hold the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had overstepped his bounds in signing the deal, therefore denying the government of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.
It took the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the process moving on a full compact between the State of New Mexico and its American Indian tribes. 10 years had been burned for gaming in New Mexico, which includes American Indian casino Bingo.
The nonprofit Bingo business has gotten bigger from Nineteen Ninety-Nine. 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 exceeded one million dollars in 2001. Not for profit Bingo earnings have grown constantly since that time. 2005 witnessed the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.
Bingo is apparently favored in New Mexico. All types of providers try for a bit of the pie. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting around gaming as a hot button matter like they did in the 1990’s. That’s probably wishful thinking.