Friday, July 30, 2010

New Mexico Bingo

New Mexico has a stormy gambling history. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed by Congress in 1989, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to get on the Indian casino bandwagon. Politics assured that wouldn't be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a task force in 1990 to negotiate a compact with New Mexico Indian tribes. When the task force came to an agreement with two prominent local tribes a year later, Governor King refused to sign the bargain. He would hold up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took over in 1995, it appeared that Indian gambling in New Mexico was a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson signed a compact with the Indian tribes, anti-gambling forces were able to tie the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court found that Governor Johnson had overstepped his bounds in signing a deal, thereby costing the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing revenues 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 between the State of New Mexico and its Indian tribes. Ten years had been lost for gambling in New Mexico, including Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo industry has grown since 1999. In that year, New Mexico charity game operators brought in only $3,048 in revenues. That climbed to $725,150 in 2000, and passed a million dollars in revenues in 2001. Non-profit Bingo revenues have grown steadily since that time. 2005 saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the operators.

Bingo is clearly popular in New Mexico. All kinds of operators look for a piece of the action. Hopefully, the politicians are through batting around gambling as a hot button issue like they did in the 90's. That's probably wishful thinking on my part.

Stanley Cardigan has written articles for several online publications, and is a well-known player at several local casinos. If you want to read more about bingo halls in America, click on New Mexico Bingo or USA Bingo

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