New Mexico has always had a pretty progressive view of gambling. As you will read on this page, there has been gambling in the state for some time, but a decision made in New Mexico recently may have repercussions across the entire country. Let’s have a look at the state of gambling in the southwestern state.
Sports Betting in New Mexico
When the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was repealed by the Supreme Court in May 2018, many states moved quickly to introduce and pass legislation allowing sports betting to be available in their states. New Mexico was not one of the early adopters from a government level, but that didn’t stop the southwestern state from making news in the industry.
Even though the state government had no plans to draw up regulations for legal sports betting in New Mexico before 2019 at earliest, one of the Tribal groups based in the region had other ideas. Working from the premise that their gaming compact with the state included a provision for all forms of gambling, the Pueblo of Santa Ana took matters into its own hands, launching a retail sportsbook on their lands in October of 2018. This became one of the first betting locations not based in New Jersey or Nevada since the PASPA repeal.
It was assumed that the state would make an attempt to shut the doors of this sportsbook. However, with the rest of the country looking in, the government remained on the sidelines on the issue. After a few months of operation without issue, a second sportsbook opened courtesy of the Buffalo Thunder Casino in Santa Fe. Both of these casinos are using vendor partners from nearby Las Vegas, and as of the end of 2019, each was still accepting wagers on-site from locals and travelers.
Online Sports Betting
Despite the brazen moves by the two tribes that opened sportsbooks without a government law in place in New Mexico, neither has launched online betting as part of the mix. This is disappointing for those in New Mexico that do not live near the two retail sportsbook locations, as it means having to drive to one of the facilities to make a “legal” wager.
Rather than do that, many sports bettors turn to the offshore sites that cater to the U.S. market. There are dozens of sites that have been in operation for years available to New Mexico residents, however when anyone gambles with a site outside the legal jurisdiction of the U.S., there are inherent risks involved. We don’t recommend that anyone uses these sites unless they understand the potential issues that could arise.
Horse Betting in New Mexico
Horse racing is a very popular sport in New Mexico, and there are currently 5 tracks that offer live racing in the state. Along with staging the races, you can head to the tracks and bet on the outcomes of these races alongside races from across the continent. Pari-mutuel betting allows your bets to be put in a pool of bets with other gamblers from across the country, and this provides the prizes that you can win for having the right combination of horses at the finish line!
Online Horse Betting
While there are 5 live tracks in the state offering wagering, none of these tracks are allowed to offer online components of their wagering platforms. As a result, gamblers in the state who want to bet away from a property rely on the services of companies like Xpressbet or Twinspires. This is an online pari-mutuel site (one of many) that are licensed outside the state but are able to cross state lines with their product. The New Mexico government may want to step in and control this action to protect their own tracks, but for the time being, these sites are allowed to operate without impediment.
Casino Gambling in New Mexico
New Mexico is home to several tribal nations, and these tribes have entered into a compact with the state under which they are allowed to offer gambling and casinos. And build they did – since the compact was signed in 1994 no less than 20 casinos have opened their doors to residents and tourists alike. These casinos feature the newest slot machines along with a full suite of table games for gamblers to enjoy. They generate significant revenues for both the tribes and the states, which is good for everyone.
Online Casinos in New Mexico
There are many land-based casino properties in New Mexico, but none of them have a corresponding online presence. Given the lack of movement on any sports betting laws in the state and the tribes with sportsbooks not extending them to mobile access, those slot machine and video poker lovers who want to play without going to a casino are out of luck. Again, there is an offshore option for online casino players, but those come with the same risks outlines in the sportsbook section of this page.
Lottery in New Mexico
The lottery is another very popular gambling vehicle in New Mexico. The state lottery has been around since 1996, and its proceeds go to providing scholarships to underprivileged children. To date, the revenues that have come from all the draw games and scratch tickets sold in the state have totaled almost a billion dollars. This is affecting some serious change in the state, which is something you can feel proud of when you are trying to win the nine-figure Powerball draw.
New Mexico Gambling FAQ
Is sports betting legal in New Mexico?
That all depends on your definition of legal. In the fall of 2018, a tribal group in New Mexico opened a sportsbook on their lands, followed by a second tribe in March 2019. To date, those are the only sports betting facilities available in New Mexico, and the government has not attempted to shut down either of them.
When will sports betting be legal across the state of New Mexico?
The government of New Mexico has no current bills circulating to make sports betting legal across the state, so we will have to wait until the legislative session of 2020 to see if one is introduced. It would be shocking if the state did nothing to respond to the tribal sportsbooks.
What is the best online sportsbook for residents of New Mexico?
The two tribal sportsbooks that opened in New Mexico do not offer their services to online or mobile players, so the only options are offshore sportsbooks. While we don’t recommend those sites here, we do understand that people are still going to play. If you are planning to bet with one of these sites, the most important thing to look for is how easy it is for you to make a withdrawal, as this tends to be the bottleneck at many sportsbooks based outside the United States.