New Mexico is one of the stricter states when it comes to gambling in the USA. The Gaming Control Act as well as the Criminal Code for the state of New Mexico completely bans online gambling, and gambling of any other form unless stated otherwise by law. The only kind of gaming it does permit is horse race betting, the state lottery, bingo games, and raffles.
For more detailed information about the kinds of gaming allowed in New Mexico, continue reading this guide.
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Legal Gaming in New Mexico
Before we get into what the law says about the gambling options allowed in the state, we should first define each option. This way we know the perimeters in which these games can take place.
- Lottery games – the National Lottery is considered a game of chance and is one of the few gaming options permitted by the state. Lotteries offer prizes ranging from small amounts to jackpots. How much you win depends on how lucky you are. Almost every other state has a national lottery which makes it one of the most commonly found gambling games today.
- Bingo – bingo is another game of chance where you guess which numbers will be pulled from a random number generator. These numbers are recorded on a bingo card and the first person to form a winning pattern wins the game. These are often held for charitable purposes and is facilitated in a bingo hall.
- Raffles – raffles are also held for fundraising purposes and describes a game where you randomly draw various prizes. Every raffle is done differently but the idea behind it stays the same.
- Horse racing – you may have witnessed a horse race at a race track before. Here you bet on a particular horse hoping that it wins the race.
Gambling Law in New Mexico
The state of New Mexico joined the Multi-state Lottery Association back in 1996 and has since enjoyed lottery games that include Mega Millions and Powerball. You can purchase a lottery ticket at a land-based retailer. There are also scratch card games available. You must be at least 18 years old to participate in a lottery draw and all winnings are taxable by law.
Organized bingo games are the only ones allowed to happen in the state and must be organized by a licensed charity. Alternatively, you can play bingo games at one of the tribal casinos. You must be at least 21 years old to play bingo. Not adhering to these bingo stipulations is recorded as a petty misdemeanor and you may suffer some serious consequences.
Horse racing, also referred to as pari-mutuel betting has been legal since the 1930s. But official horse racing events only began after the opening of the La Mesa Park in 1946. Any organization that wishes to host a horse racing event must follow due protocols and obtain a state license to do so. The law states you can only place bets on the grounds where the event is taking place.
Raffles are easy to play, but even they have laws regulating them. All raffle prizes are capped at $75 000 and may not exceed this amount. If a raffle event offers a prize value of more than $75 000, the hosting organization must issue a notice to the relevant authorities 10 days prior to the event. After the event, the names, contact details, and addresses of all the winners must be submitted to the regulating board for record-keeping purposes.
You might also be happy to know that slot machine games are permitted at horse racing events, provided that a separate license has been obtained for this. The only other place you will find slot machines operating legally are at tribal casinos.
Slot Machine Ownership
While we are on the topic of slot machines, we think it’s worth mentioning that you are allowed to purchase and store a slot machine in your home!
But you must buy the machine from a licensed manufacturer in New Mexico. You cannot buy it in another state and transport it to New Mexico as it is illegal. As the owner of the slot machine, you are also not allowed to transport it from your home to another location.
Slot machines on private property are not meant for profit purposes and may not be put up for sale privately.
New Mexico Tribal Casinos
Unfortunately, even tribal casinos operate under strict rules and regulations in the state of New Mexico. There are 23 tribal casinos in total and they are spread across the state in locations that include Bernalillo, Santa Fe, and Sandoval. At these tribal casinos, you can play poker, engage in sports betting, and play daily fantasy sports games. Five of the 23 casinos have live poker rooms. Sports betting is considered a Class 3 gaming activity in New Mexico but it’s the only activity offered in this category.
There are also racinos you can visit and they are located in areas that include San Juan, Lincoln, Doña Ana, Lea, and Bernalillo. Sadly, none of them are allowed to offer real money games and very little effort has been made to challenge this.
So far, we only know of one sportsbook in Bernalillo, but there could be others. The law states that you can only place sports bets on-site. The available sporting options include college and professional sporting events.
See Other States Pages
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- Washington DC