New Mexico Becomes Sixth State With Legal Sports Betting

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on October 17, 2018 - Last Updated on November 2, 2021
New Mexico is now the sixth state with legal regulated sports betting.

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And then there were six.

On Tuesday, New Mexico became the sixth state with legal regulated sports betting since the US Supreme Court ruling in May.

Sports betting went live at the Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel in Bernalillo, NM, located just outside Albuquerque. The 100,000 square-foot facility is operated by the Tamaya Nation at the Pueblo of Santa Ana. It offers most traditional dice games and blackjack for real money.

“We are extremely proud of the fact that Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel is the first tribal casino in the state of New Mexico, and one of the first in the nation to launch a sportsbook,” said casino-hotel’s CEO John Cirrincione.

Who’s powering New Mexico sports betting

Most noteworthy, the new sportsbook at Santa Ana Star offers live wagering on professional and college sporting events. It is operated by USBookmaking.

Vic Salerno, president of USBookmaking, said, “We have found that there is tremendous demand for Nevada-style retail sportsbook operation in a multitude of casinos throughout the US.”

However, there are a few exceptions. Customers are not be permitted to bet on any local teams. Therefore, this includes the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State.

“Although we believe there would be interest on betting on local teams, we believe it best not to take bets on these teams,” Cirrincione said.

Betting features

Sportsbook hours will be Monday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m. and weekends from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Plus, there are four betting stations and two self-service kiosks available during off hours.

“We specialize in the ability to get to market quickly and operate efficiently,” Salerno said. “We have carved out a unique position where we are a very attractive service provider to the many independent casino operations that exist today.”

Additionally, NM sports betting is limited only to on-site wagering at Santa Ana Star. Hence online gambling and sports betting are illegal elsewhere in the state.

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The emergence of tribal sports betting

Similarly, there are two other Native American tribes that offer sports betting. The first being the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe in Laughlin, Nevada. The second being the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, which opened their sportsbook in September.

Language in the NM tribal compact appears to allow sports betting only in a brick-and-mortar setting.

David Carl, press secretary for the Office of the Attorney General told the Albuquerque Journal that sports betting at Santa Ana Star is governed by the tribe’s gaming regulatory commission.

“We will closely monitor NM tribal gaming compacts and work with the legislature for proper statutory and regulatory oversight to require responsible gaming and enhanced integrity to create an even playing field for all,” Carl said.

Cirrincione said the compact allows tribal casinos to operate all forms of Class III gaming.

“Sports betting is Class III gaming. The Pueblo of Santa Ana is a sovereign nation with its own laws allowing all forms of Class III gaming in its casino,” he said.

Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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