New Mexico has a complex gambling background. When the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was signed by the House in 1989, it looked like New Mexico would be one of the states to cash in on the Native casino craze. Politics assured that would not be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King appointed a task force in 1990 to negotiate a compact with New Mexico Amerindian bands. When the panel arrived at an agreement with two big local tribes a year later, Governor King declined to sign the bargain. He would hold up a deal until 1994.

When a new governor took over in Nineteen Ninety Five, it seemed that Amerindian gambling in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when Governor Gary Johnson passed the contract with the Indian tribes, anti-gaming groups were able to tie the deal up in courts. A New Mexico court found that the Governor had out stepped his bounds in signing the deal, thereby denying the state of New Mexico hundreds of thousands of dollars in licensing fees over the next several years.

It required the CNA, passed by the New Mexico house, to get the ball rolling on a full contract between the State of New Mexico and its Native bands. 10 years had been burned for gaming in New Mexico, which includes Indian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo business has increased since Nineteen Ninety-Nine. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game operators brought in just $3,048. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded one million dollars in 2001. Nonprofit Bingo earnings have grown steadily since then. 2005 saw the biggest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.

Bingo is clearly popular in New Mexico. All kinds of providers try for a slice of the pie. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting over gambling as a hot button factor like they did back in the 1990’s. That’s most likely hopeful thinking.