New Mexico has a rocky gaming background. When the IGRA was passed by Congress in 1989, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the Native casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a task force in Nineteen Ninety to negotiate a contract with New Mexico Amerindian bands. When the working group arrived at an accord with 2 important local bands a year later, Governor King declined to sign the agreement. He would hold up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that Native gambling in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor passed the compact with the Indian bands, anti-wagering forces were able to hold the deal up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing the accord, thereby costing the state of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It required the Compact Negotiation Act, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the process moving on a full compact amongst the Government of New Mexico and its American Indian tribes. A decade had been squandered for gaming in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo business has gotten bigger since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game operators acquired only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded a million dollars in 2001. Non-profit Bingo earnings have increased steadily since that time. 2005 saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the owners.

Bingo is certainly beloved in New Mexico. All sorts of operators look for a bit of the action. With hope, the politicos are through batting around gaming as a hot button matter like they did back in the 1990’s. That is probably wishful thinking.