New Mexico gambling laws do not directly address licensed offshore online gambling sites. However, Federal gambling laws do not prohibit playing on licensed offshore online gambling sites. That being said, we must acknowledge that there are also no state laws that legalize the operation of an NM-based online gambling site.
Gambling is a misdemeanor crime in New Mexico. New Mexico gambling law has a hyper broad definition of gambling. Under New Mexico gambling law, gambling refers to:
- making a bet or
- going to a place to make a bet or
- acquiring supplies to run a lottery or
- running a lottery
Other New Mexico Gambling Pages
History Of New Mexico Gambling Laws
Gambling existed in New Mexico long before the European settlers reached the area. Today, Isleta in the Rio Grande Valley was a well-known gambling center. The first racetrack in the state was built after the Second World War and many more tracks were built for quarter horse racing making the state a primary horse race track destination in the United States.
New Mexico Social Gambling Laws
New Mexico gambling law does not make a specific exception for home or social games of poker. As long as a home or social game of poker does not involve a bet as defined by New Mexico gambling laws, winning or losing something of value, it is legal.
New Mexico Charitable Gambling Laws
Charitable gambling in the form of bingo and raffles are legal but not poker. In 1981, charitable gambling was legalized in the state when the legislature passed the New Mexico Bingo and Raffle Act. Under this Act, licensed nonprofit organizations could conduct charitable gambling events in the form of raffles, bingo, sweepstakes, lotteries and pull tabs. Nonprofit organizations could also apply for slot machine licenses under the Act.
Nonprofit organizations eligible for a license include chartered branch, lodge or chapter of a national or state organization or a bona fide nonprofit charitable, religious, fraternal, environmental, veterans or educational organization. The organization must be in existence and operating in the state for two years. In New Mexico to qualify for a charitable gambling license, the organization does not need the federal designation of nonprofit.
New Mexico Gambling Laws Concerning Pari-Mutuel Wagering
Pari-mutuel wagering is legal in New Mexico. Pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing began in 1946 when the La Mesa Park opened in Raton. Subsequently, many other race tracks were opened and started offering pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing.
The NM State Racing Commission regulates pari-mutuel wagering in the state. By law, only licensed premises where live horse races are conducted or simulcast horse races are shown can offer pari-mutuel wagering. In 1998, the law was changed to allow racetracks to apply for an additional license to install slot machines.
In February 1999, Sunland Park became the first racetrack to offer slot machines (a type of racino). Today, there are five such race tracks that offer slot machines. These are referred to as racinos. Each of them has over 300 slot machines.
New Mexico Lottery Gambling Laws
The New Mexico state lottery was established in 1995 after Governor Gary Johnson signed a bill to set up the state lottery authority. The sale of lottery tickets began in April 1996 with instant tickets. The NM lottery is a member of the Multi-State Lottery Association.
New Mexico Gambling Laws Concerning Indian Tribe Compacts
Although Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, the state of New Mexico signed its first compacts with the Indian tribes only in the mid-1990s. The negotiations started in 1990 but the then governor refused to sign the compacts. It was only after Gary Johnson took over as the governor, the compacts began to be signed. Lawsuits were filed challenging the compacts but the state prevailed and in 2001 the state legislature re-authorized the compacts.
New Mexico is home to a number of Indian tribes and it is no surprise that some cities in the state have more than one Indian casino. Some of these casinos offer poker rooms.
Efforts To Legalize Online Gambling In New Mexico
At this time, there are no efforts being made to legalize any type of state-licensed online gambling options. While the tribal-casino Santa Ana Star took it upon themselves to start accepting bets on sports, no new legislation has been presented since.
Licensed offshore wagering sites are allowed to service the state of New Mexico because they are legally licensed and regulated, and are not breaching any state law.
New Mexico Gambling Laws
Players are interested in reviewing the full gambling laws and statutes in their entirety for the state of New Mexico can visit the New Mexico Compilation Commission where they will have access to the official documentation.
New Mexico Online Gambling FAQS
What Are The Consequences Of Illegal Gambling In New Mexico?
Illegal gambling is met with a misdemeanor charge in the state of New Mexico. These are broken down into two categories; Petty misdemeanors are less serious than normal misdemeanors without the “petty” classification. Petty misdemeanors could land you in jail for up to 6 months with a fine of up to $500 dollars, but those two things are not mutually exclusive. Misdemeanors without the “petty” classification can be punishable by up to a year in jail and up to $1000 dollars in fines.
What Legal Gambling Options Do I Have In The State Of New Mexico?
The state of New Mexico has numerous legal domestic gambling options for its residents. There are currently 28 Native American casinos that are spread across the state and 5 state-licensed racetracks that practice legal pari-mutuel gambling. Those racetracks are known as “Racinos” because they also house casino games like slots.
Charitable gambling is legal in the state, there is also a lottery, and bingo halls and in addition to those land-based casinos; as well as, licensed offshore online gambling sites.
What Is Pari-Mutuel Gambling?
Pari-Mutuel gambling is the main form of wagering that takes place within racing venues. In this form, bettors place bets against other bettors. The house takes a small fee to put on the races but most of the bets are redistributed among the winners directly from the pockets of the losers. The bets are placed in a pot before the race has begun and the winners have delegated their winnings according to the bets that they took.
What Is Charitable Gambling?
Charitable gambling is an exception made in the New Mexico state government to allow charitable organizations like non-profit fraternal, religious, or social organizations to conduct raffles, lotteries, and other types of minor gambling services to raise funds for the betterment of the society that they serve.
Can I Host A Private Game Of Poker Among Friends?
Despite the typical exception made in most state’s laws for social gambling, New Mexico is among the few who do not allow this type of gambling in private dwellings. Players can do what they like within their own dwelling but if anyone is winning or losing something of monetary value, it is technically considered illegal in the state of New Mexico.
What Is A Tribal Compact?
Tribal compacts are legal agreements between the Native American tribes and the state government in which they reside. These compacts allow the Native American communities to set up and run tribal casinos within the state’s borders that offer class III gambling services. They come as a result of the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
New Mexico currently has tribal compacts with the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, the Mescalero Apache Tribe, the Nambe Pueblo, the Navajo Nation, the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, the Pueblo of Acoma, the Pueblo of Isleta, the Pueblo of Jemez, the Pueblo of Taos, the Pueblo of Santa Ana, and the Pueblo of Zuni.