New Mexico Sports Betting Guide
From decades ago, New Mexico was ahead of the game in the United States when it comes to betting. Long before state regulations came into play, horse racing and other sporting games were played by the natives on the land, and that gave rise to the gambling culture that exists in modern New Mexico. Wagers were placed on different types of sports games by native Americans who inhabited the land, and it led to the institution of gambling regulations in the early 20th century. In the 1940s, legal pari-mutuel gambling was already taking place, and a few horse racing tracks were constructed.
The gambling industry in New Mexico continues thriving in today’s world and the state remains one of the oldest states to legalize any form of gambling in America. However, unlike what most people expected, lawmakers and regulators have been quite adamant in the bid to legalize interactive gambling while other like New Jersey, Indiana and Pennsylvania have been in the forefront of legalizing online sports betting. Read our exclusive scoop for a closer look at the state of sports betting in the Land of Enchantment.
History of Sports Betting in New Mexico
While it is evident that pari-mutuel gambling began in the early 1900s, Native Americans in New Mexico mostly placed wagers on horse racing events. This is to say that other forms of gaming did not come into existence until later on in the 19th century.
Of course, unofficial gambling took place throughout, but it was not until 1946 when the state officially legalized pari-mutuel horse racing wagering in New Mexico. When the IGRA (Indian Gaming Regulatory Act) was enacted in 1988, there were no specifics as to how sports betting would be run in the state. Come 1992 however, the nationwide institution of PASPA made it even more challenging to expand local sports betting law in New Mexico
In 2016, the sports betting industry in New Mexico had a breakthrough when daily fantasy sports contests were legalized thanks to House Bill 314, Nate Gentry introduced that.
This was passed into law because it argued that daily fantasy sports games are not games of chance but rather games of skill. HB 314, therefore, rendered Daily Fantasy Sports games exempt from the gambling prohibitions that illegalized wagering on games of chance. The Bill allowed players who are over 18 years of age to participate in these contests.
Later in 2018, when the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was finally repealed across the United States, it was a cause for celebration. New Mexico did not take long to re-establish gambling regulations on sports betting. The state’s Gaming Control Board finally allowed sports betting operations within the scope of 1988’s IGRA under Class III games in the tribal gaming compact.
To that effect, tribal gaming establishments were given the green light to start offering retail sports betting services on collegiate and professional sports events. Seeing that sports betting was finally legalized, The State Lottery tried to introduced sports-based lottery games but the House of Representatives shut them down by an overwhelming 64-0 vote.
Sports Betting in New Mexico
Following the repeal of PASPA in 2018, it was a dream come true for sports enthusiasts in the state. The state became one of the first ten states to legalize sports betting later that year. Following this, several tribal casinos and racinos have been approved to offer a variety of sports betting options for punters in New Mexico.
Online Sports Betting
In as much as New Mexico was one of the first to legalize sports betting, the state still remains reluctant towards legalizing online betting of any sort according to its gambling regulations. Local regulations prohibit casinos from offering online sports betting services, but residents aren’t really barred from placing wagers through offshore online gaming operators.
Fantasy Sports Betting
The gambling regulations of New Mexico set them apart from many other states as they legalized daily fantasy sports betting in 2016, regardless of the PASPA repeal process going on at the time. Taking into consideration that fantasy sports contests are entirely online, while gaming regulations prohibit online sports betting, it is a huge step in the direction of the online gaming industry in New Mexico.
Fantasy sports betting is open to players who are 18 years of age and older, and they can take part in the top sports leagues including the NFL and NBA. New Mexico is one of the few states to clearly stipulate the prohibitions and allowances surrounding online sports betting and fantasy sports betting.
Pari-Mutuel Horse Race Wagering
Residents of New Mexico can bet on horse races at licensed racetracks in the state. This gambling regulation that has existed for decades and the legal minimum horse race betting age is 18.
Casinos that Offer Sports Betting in New Mexico
As we speak, the state of New Mexico has 23 land-based casinos and 5 racinos, the highest ration of residents to casinos in the United States. After the PASPA was repealed, residents of the state were allowed to participate in sports betting as long as they do it in a locally licensed land-based gambling facility. However, only a handful have taken the stride of officially offering retail sports betting services.
On the 11th of October 2018, the first official sports wager was placed at Santa Ana Star Casino, which is located near Alberquerque. It became the first sportsbook to launch in New Mexico, in partnership with USBookmaking. This was possible because most of the New Mexico casinos do not fall under the gambling regulations of the state but instead follow those of the tribal gaming commissions instituted to regulate them.
In fact, because sports betting falls under the gaming classification III, sports betting can be offered on Indian reservation territory regardless of what the state’s regulations were. Thus, while there are still no specific sports betting state laws passed by the House of Representatives, tribal gambling facilities are within their right to offer retail sports betting.
In March 2019, Hilton Buffalo Thunder Casino launched a retail sportsbook, and later in July, The Mountain Gods Resort and Casino followed suit by launching a retail sportsbook after striking a partnership deal with William Hill. The Isleta Resort and Casino later joined the bandwagon of casinos offering a retail sportsbook, launching its services on 12th August 2019.
Route 66 Casino and Hotel was the newest entrant in the world of sports betting in New Mexico after debuting a full-service sports betting section by the name ‘The Book’ in September 2019. With such impressive progress, we expect to see more retail sportsbooks in the future, especially after those already in the market start reaping lucrative benefits in revenue streams.
New Mexico Sports Betting Highlights
|Age Requirements||Sports Betting and Casinos 21+|
Pari-mutuel: 18 +
Daily Fantasy Contests: 18+
|Regulatory Body||New Mexico Gaming Control Board|
Alcohol and Gaming Regulation and Licensing Department
|Key Legislation||New Mexico Statutes|
Horse Racing Act
|Taxation||Tribal -state compacts determine tax for land-based casinos|
Racetracks: 20% of net revenue from purses
Non-profit organizations: 10%
Other licensed Operators: 26% tax
|State Lottery||New Mexico State Lottery|
|Sports Betting||Allowed, at licensed land-based casinos and racetracks|
|Online Sports Betting||Illegal, No onshore operators regulated by the state|
|Number of Casinos that Offer Sports Betting||5 (by December 2019)|
What Does the Future Hold for Sports Betting in New Mexico?
From the look of things, the only sure thing about the state of sports betting in the Land of Enchantment is that more land-based casinos will move to start offering retail sportsbooks. As for online gaming, state officials remain adamant about allowing local gaming facilities to offer interactive gambling.
Thus, for now, unless you participate in Daily Fantasy Sports contests, you’ll have to physically any of the 5 gambling facilities that offer sportsbooks to bet on sports.