New Mexico became a state in January 1912, making it one of the newest additions to the Union. The state has become a destination due to its vast natural beauty and popular association with the television show Breaking Bad.
However, New Mexico is also home to over 25 casinos due to its extensive Native American population. By virtue of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988, federally-recognized tribes gained the ability to negotiate compacts with state governments to open casinos.
Most of New Mexico’s tribes have taken advantage of this new freedom and opened gaming facilities. It was probably inevitable, then, that one of them would push forward with sports betting.
New Mexico sports betting
New Mexico joined the community of states with sports betting in a rather inadvertent manner.
Sports betting began at the Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel on Oct. 16, 2018. The sportsbook opened without an explicit New Mexico law or state regulatory oversight in place.
The Pueblo of Santa Ana tribe declared that its compact with the state allowed for sports betting already. Indeed, according to Legal Sports Report, the compact covered Class III wagering, which includes sports betting.
As a result, the tribe entered a partnership with sports betting company USBookmaking and opened shop. The tribe’s own regulatory body, the Pueblo of Santa Ana Gaming Regulatory Commission, oversees the procedures in place at the new sports betting facility.
Wisely, the tribe has chosen not to accept action on in-state collegiate teams, such as the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State. This decision helps to legitimize the sportsbook’s presence.
Since then, two other facilities – Buffalo Thunder and Isleta Resort & Casino – have begun their own sports betting operations. The Mescalero Apache Tribe announced that a fourth facility at Inn of the Mountain Gods will open sometime before the 2019 NFL season.
At this point, wagering is only available onsite. Online sports betting remains expressly prohibited by New Mexico law.