The definition of gambling in the state of New Mexico is the broadest one yet – “making a bet”. However, the gambling laws go on to exclude lottery defined by the state and betting otherwise permitted by law. Former Governor Gary Johnson was the one to propagate casino gambling in New Mexico and used it as a platform in his election campaign.
There are currently 26 gambling establishments throughout the state – 21 casinos and 5 racinos – 24 of which are run by 14 tribes. Native American tribes have worked closely together with the government of New Mexico since tribal casinos were approved in 1995. The state has a 26% share of all casino gambling revenue, less the amount paid in winnings. Another major contributor to state funds is the lottery, which rakes in about $140 million yearly. Those aren’t the grandest figures, but considering the population of just over 2 million, it is quite significant.
The oldest form of gambling in the state is pari-mutuel horse betting, which has been legal since 1930. It was very lucrative for years, but when neighboring Texas legalized horse racing in the 80s, racetracks in New Mexico began to dwindle. In a move to get the industry back on its feet, authorities decided to approve slot machines at the tracks. These gaming machines have now spread to over 40 other veteran clubs around the state.
The state law does not specify three major forms of gambling; daily fantasy sports, social gaming, and online casinos. Since the state has not taken any action in their regard, there are ample opportunities to participate in these kinds of gambling.
Many offshore operators accept New Mexico players because the state does not impose fines on them. However, New Mexicans who opt for this form of online gambling receive no protection from the state and have to bear the risks associated with unregulated gambling.
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Interesting State Facts
New Mexico is one of the Four Corners states of the US (where 4 state borders meet) and shares an international border with Mexico. The Land of Enchantment is home to national forests, authentic moon rocks preserved at the International Space Hall of Fame, and annual duck races.
Owing to its proximity to Mexico, one out of three families in the state speaks Spanish, and it is officially recognized as bilingual. Santa Fe is located 7,000 feet above sea level and is the highest capital city in the country. The state is the 5th largest by area within the territory of the US. With a population of 2,085, 287, and very little natural water, most of it comprises wide-open land. In fact, it is rumored that sheep and cattle are more numerous than people.
The major attraction for visitors to New Mexico is the “Whole Enchilada” festival held on the first weekend in October, where the city of Las Cruces makes the world’s largest enchilada.
New Mexico Gambling Venues
The majority of the casinos in New Mexico are situated around Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The latter has 4 casinos while the former holds 5 facilities, including the two largest casinos in the state Sandia Resort & Casino and Isleta Resort Casino, which have 2900 and 1600 gaming machines, respectively. Of the 5 racinos, the Downs racetrack is the only one in Albuquerque while the rest are located near state borders between Colorado and Texas.
Casino games are not permitted at charity events, and this extends to Poker. However, bingo, raffles, pull-hand, and door prize drawings are legal. For poker enthusiasts, the tribal casino is the saving grace. Besides blackjack, slots, craps, roulette, and video poker, they offer live poker rooms with several cash tables and tournaments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Online gambling is not legal in New Mexico, and as it stands, there are no signs that it will be in the near future. New Mexico has generally been slow to accept casino gaming, and horse racing was the only form of gambling available until 1995 when the state passed a bill in favor of Indian casinos. Online casino gambling, online sportsbooks, and various other kinds of gaming remain illegal or unspecified according to the law.
New Mexico may not be the safest state in the US, but there is little to worry about when visiting the casino. New Mexico casinos generally provide one of the most reliable security systems. There are CCTVs around the lobby, casino floors, and even in the car park. Within the premises, there are standby security guards whom you can fully trust to safeguard your property and your winnings. Besides, there have been no theft cases reported in any New Mexico casinos.
So far as you are within the borders of the state, you can access New Mexico casinos. Tribal groups own almost all New Mexico casinos, and these establishments are concentrated around the Santa Fe and Albuquerque areas as these are the most populated cities. You will also find a few along the Texas state border.
Blackjack is one of the staple table games available at New Mexico casinos. Because these establishments are predominantly tribal casinos, there are no restrictions on offering classic casino games. Players will find a variety of roulette, poker, craps, and video poker. The largest casino has nearly 3000 gaming machines available for players to choose from.