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New Mexico Sports Betting

Editor’s note: As of Jan. 18, 2021

New Mexico is in the unique position where two tribal casinos are offering sports betting when no legislation permitting the action has been introduced or passed by lawmakers.

Actually, the only legislation that has been offered – and that is now tabled – would have prohibited the State Lottery from expanding to offer sports betting to wanna-be bettors. Legislative action has been postponed indefinitely on the proposed law that was prompted by lottery plans to offer a parlay-like betting game that involved a minimum of three sporting events.

The state’s Native American tribes’ forays into sports betting are governed by a long-negotiated contract that allows “any and all forms of Class III gaming” on Indian lands. Class III gaming includes house banking games such as baccarat, blackjack, casino games such as roulette, craps and keno, slot machines, and sports betting and pari-mutuel wagering.

On Oct. 16, 2018, five months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which opened the door to sports wagering states beyond Nevada, the Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel began taking sports bets. The casino is operated by the Tamaya Nation’s Pueblo of Santa Ana tribe.

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In April 2019, Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, north of Santa Fe and operated by the Pojoaque Pueblo, too, began offering sports wagering.

Regarding sports betting at the two venues, there are no mobile options at this time and if/when they are offered would only work on the tribal casino property. Traditional and in-play/in-game wagers are available, but no bets are allowed on in-state teams.

There are 21 Native American casinos and six other Indian-run gaming venues in the state.

Is sports betting currently legal in the state?

The state legislature has not sanctioned sports betting in the state, however, two Native American casinos, governed by an Indian Gaming Compact, are offering sports betting to its patrons.

When did New Mexico tribal casinos start accepting bets?

Santa Ana Star Casino began offering sports betting on Oct. 16, 2018. The Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino began sports wagering on March 11, 2019.

What is the legal age to bet on sports in New Mexico?

Patrons must be 21 years old to bet at tribal casinos.

What restrictions are there on sports betting in New Mexico … is online wagering allowed?

The compact doesn’t prohibit mobile betting but has yet to be offered. If mobile betting was implemented, it would only be permitted on tribal property and restricted by geolocation technology.

As for bet restrictions, wagering on any in-state teams, professional (there are no major pro teams in New Mexico) or collegiate, is prohibited.

Where can you open an account in New Mexico?

At Santa Ana Casino, there is a small sportsbook with four betting stations and two self-service kiosks that routinely take cash, voucher or a player’s account card with prepaid funds. Gambling kiosks also are utilized at the Buffalo Thunder casino.

What do I need to open an account in New Mexico?

A valid photo ID is required.

What about horse racing?

The state has a history of racing going back to 1938 and although the number of tracks has reduced in recent years you are able to place online parimutuel wagers with Bet America and TVG.

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