New Mexico has a bitter gambling background. When the IGRA was passed by the House in 1989, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to get on the Indian casino bandwagon. Politics guaranteed that wouldn’t be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King announced a panel in 1990 to discuss a contract with New Mexico Amerindian tribes. When the panel arrived at an accord with 2 prominent local bands a year later, Governor King refused to sign the agreement. He held up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took office in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that Indian betting in New Mexico was a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the contract with the Indian bands, anti-gambling forces were able to tie the accord up in courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing the accord, therefore denying the government of New Mexico many hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It required the CNA, passed by the New Mexico legislature, to get the ball rolling on a full contract amongst the State of New Mexico and its Amerindian tribes. 10 years had been burned for gambling in New Mexico, which includes Amerindian casino Bingo.

The nonprofit Bingo business has increased since 1999. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game providers brought in only $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and passed one million dollars in 2001. Not for profit Bingo earnings have increased steadily since then. Two Thousand and Five saw the largest year, with $1,233,289 grossed by the operators.

Bingo is apparently favored in New Mexico. All sorts of operators try for a piece of the pie. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting around gaming as a hot button issue like they did in the 90’s. That is probably wishful thinking.