New Mexico has a stormy gaming past. When the IGRA was passed by Congress in 1989, it seemed like New Mexico might be one of the states to get on the Native casino craze. Politics assured that would not be the case.

The New Mexico governor Bruce King assembled a task force in 1990 to discuss a contract with New Mexico Native bands. When the panel came to an agreement with two big 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 Nineteen Ninety Five, it appeared that Native betting in New Mexico was now a certainty. But when the new Governor signed the contract with the Indian tribes, anti-gambling groups were able to tie the contract up in the courts. A New Mexico court ruled that Governor Johnson had out stepped his bounds in signing a deal, thereby costing 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 government, to get the process moving on a full contract amongst the Government of New Mexico and its American Indian tribes. A decade had been lost for gaming in New Mexico, including Amerindian casino Bingo.

The non-profit Bingo business has gotten bigger from 1999. In that year, New Mexico non-profit game providers brought in just $3,048 in revenues. This number grew to $725,150 in 2000, and exceeded one million dollars in 2001. Not for profit Bingo revenues have grown constantly since that time. Two Thousand and Five saw the greatest year, with $1,233,289 earned by the operators.

Bingo is apparently popular in New Mexico. All sorts of owners look for a piece of the pie. Hopefully, the politicos are done batting over gambling as an important issue like they did in the 1990’s. That is most likely hopeful thinking.