New Mexico is known to many as The Land of Enchantment. Here, there are around two million residents which is considered a smaller population when placing it against all 50 states. New Mexico ranks 36th in terms of population and 5th largest in terms of square miles.
New Mexico has more than 120,000 square miles of beautiful scenery. The state is one where you will see a different landscape with every turn. New Mexico is neighbor to Texas, Colorado, Arizona and of course, Mexico.
Gambling History and Scenario
The gambling history in New Mexico starts in the 1930s with the offer of horse racing. La Mesa park was open in 1946, and the pari-mutuel business was quite profitable until the 1980s when competition from Texas appeared by legalizing horse racing too. Less than 10 years later, on the 1990s, the pari-mutuel industry stabilized again with the approval of slot gambling at the racetracks.
Similarly to what happens in other states, also in New Mexico gambling has been evolving slowly and new forms of gambling have been becoming legal. Before 1990, the available legal gambling in the state was just horse racing, something that changed in 1995 when Governor Gary Johnson approved both tribal gaming and the state lottery.
The state took it’s time to legalize the lottery and multi-state lottery, but since then it has been boosting the state General Fund with approximately $40 million on a yearly basis out of a $140 million total revenue. This value might be inferior to values of other states, but it’s significant for the state of New Mexico, considering there are only 2 million residents.
The compact signed in 1995 also meant a close collaboration between the state and the Native Americans to develop the casino industry. The fruits of this collaboration are 21 casinos and 5 racinos in the state, a big number proportionally to the New Mexico population.
Albuquerque and Santa Fe, the largest populational centers, concentrate the majority of these casinos, but they are also placed near the Texas borders, where we can also find Zia Park and Sunland racinos.
The original agreement was amended in 2000 and again in 2007, and the main questions in a sometimes-rocky relationship have been around the revenue sharing, something that included the Attorney General suing the tribes accusing them of not sharing those revenues.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that millions of dollars are earned in casinos by the 14 tribes of the state, is that the Sandia Pueblo tribe earns over $164 million yearly with their Sandia Casino. Overall, New Mexico collects more than $100 million in taxes from the lottery and tribal casinos, good help to fund hospitals, education, and other programs.
Summing up the types of Gambling in New Mexico
New Mexico has more types of gaming than most of the states. Players have some gaming styles that are eligible to be played by players as low as 18 and up. Players here have more than 20 Native American casinos which require players to be at least 21.
Some of those casinos include; Sun Ray Park & Casinos, Cities of Gold, Ohkay Casino, Buffalo Thunder, Camel Rock Casino, San Felipe’s Casino Hollywood, Santa Ana Star Casino, Sandia Resort & Casino, & The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
The gaming within these casinos include all the very top styles such as slots, table games, card games, keno, bingo, and others. Pari-mutuel betting is very popular here as it is one of the methods that allows players to start gaming at just 18.
Players can bet on horse racing at Sunland Park, New Mexico State Fair, and Sunland Park. Like other states, the lottery is available to players with several different variations of the game such as Powerball, Hot Lotto, Mega Millions, Pick 3 Pick 4 and many others.
In terms of charitable gaming, the state offers raffles, bingo, door prize drawings, and pull-tabs, considering the prizes are inferior to $100. Poker and bridge are banned from this category, but poker is allowed in casinos for example, which offer live poker, cash tables, tournaments, and jackpots.
The fact that New Mexico explored the possibility to legalize online gambling has caused some tension with the tribes, as this would certainly reduce their revenue in the casinos. This even leads to the threat from the Navajo Nation to stop revenue sharing if the state did legalize online gambling.
To date, online gambling is not yet regulated, but players haven’t been prosecuted for doing it, so even if it’s not legal, seems a relatively safe activity to be done on offshore casinos and poker sites.