While players are restricted from gambling in online casinos, poker rooms and sportsbooks, New Mexicans can play daily fantasy sports and shout it from their rooftops. All the big players in the industry, such as FantasyDraft, FanDuel, DraftKings and Yahoo, legally offer New Mexico daily fantasy sports games, so it's no wonder DFS betting is one of the fastest-growing hobbies in the state.
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New Mexico is a state rich with wide-ranging historical elements. It is home to Taos Pueblo, an adobe settlement and UNESCO World Heritage site that ranks among North America's oldest continuously inhabited communities and where Taos Pueblo people reside to this day. But what about the state's relationship with gambling on land and on the internet?
In short, some forms of gambling in New Mexico are freely available, while others are strictly controlled or technically illegal.
In October 2018, the state took its first sports bet, becoming the sixth state in the nation to do so. Citing a clause in the state's gaming compact that didn't explicitly ban sports betting, the Pueblo of Santa Ana began taking bets at the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel near Albuquerque.
As of autumn 2018, it wasn't clear when other casinos would follow the tribe's lead, but it seems inevitable that other Native American groups would follow. There is no online betting at this time, but this major step toward land-based gambling could spur further developments on the internet.
The unexpected announcement that a New Mexico casino would open a legal sportsbook was a major change from the state's betting traditions (or lack thereof).
Aside from racetrack betting, which has been available for decades, legal gambling in New Mexico has taken a long time to materialize. In fact, it wasn't until the 1990s when gambling freedom started to gain traction.
The main form of legal gambling in New Mexico is still through casino and poker gaming at approved resorts, in addition to slots and betting on horse racing at authorized racetracks. The state also permits the New Mexico Lottery, pull tabs in bars, bingo halls and games, and charity raffles and sweepstakes.
Overall, New Mexico has moderate levels of gambling freedom, but the developments since 1990 mark it as a fairly progressive state for bettors to live in. Its range of excellent land-based casinos remain a winner for residents and travelers who like to hit the tables, but the state's kudos would take a hike up the ratings if it legalized and regulated online gambling. For now, online bettors in the Land of Enchantment will need to enjoy some of the state's other offerings.
Land-based gamblers are treated to a nice selection of casino gaming venues, split between American Indian–owned casinos and racetrack facilities. In total, there are 28 tribal casinos in New Mexico, including Apache Nugget Casino, Black Mesa Casino, Dancing Eagle Casino, Isleta Resort & Casino, Route 66 Casino Hotel, and Sky City Casino Hotel. The state's five racinos are found at The Downs in Albuquerque, SunRay Park in Farmington, Zia Park in Hobbs, and at Ruidoso Downs and Sunland Park. The state has given a new track-side venue the go-ahead in 2018, and bidding is underway.
New Mexico online casino gambling is illegal under state law, but given the Wild West nature of gambling in the United States these days, it's possible this could change.
New Mexico is quite a hotbed when it comes to offline poker, with an array of tables available at venues including Buffalo Thunder, Inn of Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, Route 66 Casino Hotel, Isleta Resort & Casino and Sandia Resort & Casino. The venues offer a diverse mix of games, including No Limit Hold'em, Texas Hold'em, Omaha 8 or Better, Omaha Hi-Lo, Limit Hold'em and tournaments. But, like online casino games, New Mexico's online poker players are breaking the law by playing games via mobile and laptop.
As of October 2018, sports betting in New Mexico is restricted to in-person sports betting at the Santa Ana Star and on horse races at authorized tracks or taking part in sweepstakes. New Mexico gambling took a major step forward when industry stakeholders announced in October 2018 that existing gaming compacts between the government and Native American-owned casinos allow sports betting.
In the meantime, there are no legal online sportsbooks, meaning it's illegal to wager on events like the NBA, NFL, soccer leagues, auto racing, tennis, golf, mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing through the internet. In the future, the state might pass a law to approve sports betting online in New Mexico, but for now there no legal means to use online sportsbooks.