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Bingo in New Mexico

New Mexico has a stormy gaming background. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed by Congress in Nineteen Eighty Nine, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the Amerindian casino craze. Politics assured that would not be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a working group in 1990 to create a compact with New Mexico Native bands. When the working group arrived at an accord with 2 big local tribes a year later, the Governor declined to sign the bargain. He would hold up a deal until Nineteen Ninety Four.

When a new governor took over in 1995, it seemed that Native gaming in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the contract with the Indian bands, anti-wagering groups were able to hold the contract up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the accord, thus denying 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, signed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the ball rolling on a full contract between the State of New Mexico and its Native bands. A decade had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, including Amerindian casino Bingo.

The nonprofit Bingo business has gotten bigger since 1999. In that year, New Mexico not for profit game operators brought in just $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded one million dollars in revenues in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo earnings have increased steadily since that time. 2005 witnessed the biggest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the owners.

Bingo is categorically favored in New Mexico. All sorts of operators look for a slice of the pie. With hope, the politicians are through batting around gaming as an important issue like they did in the 1990's. That is most likely hopeful thinking.

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