Legal New Mexico Sports Betting

new-mexico-sealLegal New Mexico sports betting debuted in the state on October 16, 2018, making NM the sixth state to offer legal brick-and-mortar sports wagering to the public. However, the way New Mexico went about getting its sportsbooks up and running is different from every single other state. The state’s tribes came up with a plan that may as well set the precedent for all other casinos that are dealing with tribal gaming compacts and tribal exclusivity deals.

New Mexico’s Santa Ana Pueblo tribe effectively used a loophole that automatically gave them the right to offer on-site sports wagering as soon as the Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA, 1992). After a few unchallenged months of operation, the Pojoaque Pueblo tribe jumped on board and opened their own sportsbook. In addition to further exploring this brilliant gambit, this guide you will provide information on legal sports betting sites, daily fantasy sports, and your wagering options and restrictions in New Mexico.

Is Land-Based Sports Betting Legal In New Mexico?

Land-based sports betting is legal in New Mexico thanks to the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), which exists to define the three allowable types of tribal gaming: Class I gaming, Class II gaming, and Class III gaming. Class I gaming is basically limited to social games with low-value prizes, typically held as part of traditional tribal ceremonies or festivals. Class II gaming is defined as comprising bingo, punch-card games, tip jar games, and any card games that are otherwise legal in the state (not including house-banked games like baccarat, blackjack, etc.). But here’s why legal New Mexico sports betting was able to be launched without any state legislation once the federal PASPA ban was overturned: Class III gaming, per the tribal compacts as codified by the federal government in the IGRA, means “all forms of gaming that are not class I or class II gaming.”

This is a catch-all that unequivocally includes sports betting, and thus, sports betting was immediately legalized as a matter of course. While some states may have taken umbrage at the brazen nature of the Santa Ana Pueblo’s (correct) interpretation of this law and filed suit to stop their sports betting product, the government of New Mexico has not indicated any plans to challenge the above interpretation (though this does not preclude the legislature from writing new legal New Mexico sports betting laws that might disrupt the Santa Ana Star’s sports betting product, or any other tribe’s sports wagering offerings going forward).

Santa Ana Star Sportsbook Review In Albuquerque

Is It Legal To Bet On Sports In New Mexico?

It is absolutely legal to bet on sports in New Mexico, provided you do so at the tribal casinos offering their services or a legal offshore sportsbook like Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline, or 5Dimes. Currently, there are 33 gambling venues in the state (28 tribal casinos and 5 racinos) and, though they do not all offer sports betting at the moment, there is nothing holding them back from participating. It is possible we see an expansion into a set of regulations, but lawmakers have allowed for the first year to go unregulated.

Where To Bet On NFL Games In New Mexico?

If you are looking for locations to bet on NFL games in New Mexico, then your choices are fairly limited. There are retail sportsbooks located in Albuquerque, Mescalero, and Santa Fe. If you are not near one of these locations, then you might be discouraged from trying to bet on NFL games. We are here to say that online offshore sportsbooks available. These online sportsbooks are very convenient because they can be accessed through your mobile device or computer. So there is no need to plan a trip to Santa Fe or any of the other sports betting states​ because the best spot to bet on NFL games is on online.

Is There Anywhere In New Mexico That I Can I Bet On Sports?

Yes, you can bet on sports in New Mexico at four different locations. These land-based sportsbooks offer no mobile betting, but bettors are still welcome to check them out. Though New Mexico is a big state, the sportsbooks are located in the more populated areas of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Other options also exist on the outskirts of towns, such as in Mescalero and Bernalillo.

You can also use a legal offshore sportsbook like Bovada, SportsBetting, BetOnline, 5Dimes, BetDSI, or BookMaker, all of which accept NM residents as customers. Signing up is fast and free, all of your wagers are encrypted, secure, and are guaranteed the fastest sportsbook payouts. These legal New Mexico sports betting sites are likely going to be your most convenient and accessible solutions due to the fact you will not have to travel to a casino whenever you want to place a bet.

New Mexico Sports Betting Revenue

New Mexico offers legal sports gambling but only at a limited number of tribal casinos, which are not required by law to publicly disclose their finances. Considering that there are only two licensed sportsbooks in the state, it is safe to assume that the numbers for revenue, handle and tax collections are all low. We can still do a thought experiment of what New Mexico’s sports betting industry would look like if it expanded throughout the state. Using New Mexico’s 26% gaming tax and national per capita averages, a full statewide sports betting industry could generate $313.5 million for a betting handle, $21.6 million in revenue, and $5.6 million in taxes annually.

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Where’s The Closest Place To Me To Bet?

If you live in the middle of New Mexico, you are in luck. Both of the currently operating sportsbooks are located in Albuquerque and Sante Fe. These locations are accessible from major interstates like I-40 and I-25. The majority of the state’s tribal casinos are in the northwest quadrant of the state, though it’s not clear which city will be the next NM locale to offer legal sports betting. It seems like a sure thing that Las Cruces will have some form of legal New Mexico sports betting in the near future, due to their several casino venues.

Albuquerque New Mexico Sportsbooks
Mescalero New Mexico Sportsbooks
Santa Fe New Mexico Sportsbooks

Potential Cities For Legal New Mexico Sports Betting

  • Albuquerque
  • Santa Fe
  • Las Cruces

You can also make a drive to neighboring states to bet on sports, although that’s something of a long trek. Historically, NM residents would travel west to Las Vegas, NV, to bet on sports, though Mississippi to the east has a couple dozen sports betting venues up and running, now. Still, these cities are quite a long way from New Mexico, making them less appealing for those who just want to bet on a few games. If you’re taking a vacation, either destination is great fun and worthwhile, but if you just want to make a bet every few days like most sports gamblers, you’ll want to stick with the Santa Ana Star or – even more conveniently – wager online at legal offshore sportsbooks featuring mobile sports betting.

New Mexico Sports Betting Sites

There are several legal New Mexico sports betting sites to choose from on the Internet. The best of these, for most NM residents, is Bovada, as they’re the industry leaders and the most popular offshore sportsbook among all American players. After Bovada, both SportsBetting and BetOnline offer identical odds and lines, though they usually have dramatically different bonuses to choose from, for both new and returning members. 5Dimes is another excellent NM sportsbook, and their bread and butter is the alternate line, giving their customers a number of different options for every spread on the docket, no matter the sport.

Other top NM sports wagering websites include BetDSI and the Internet’s oldest bookmaker, aptly called BookMaker. Whether your join one or two of the above sites – or join all of them – you are sure to find robust wagering options and sportsbook bonuses that no land-based book is likely to match. Plus, shopping lines on the Internet is a lot easier than shopping lines between different land-based casinos!

New Mexico Sports Betting And Gambling Laws

The Gaming Control Act of 1978 defines all of the current New Mexico sports betting and gambling laws. Naturally, given its date of origin, there is no mention of “online” or “Internet” gambling. Still, the state legislature could have added that at any time, though they’ve so far chosen not to. Thus, there is literally nothing in the law to prevent NM residents from using these means to access offshore sportsbooks.

What Teams Can I Bet On?

New Mexico does not have any presence in the major American sports, and its NCAA offerings are a bit thin as well. That said, there are some notable colleges in the state, and there are several popular teams in neighboring states that are very popular with NM residents. Most of those who live in New Mexico and wager on sports are fans of the following clubs:

Popular New Mexico Teams

New Mexico Lobos (University of New Mexico) New Mexico State Aggies (New Mexico State University) Dallas Cowboys (NFL)
Texas Rangers (MLB) Denver Nuggets (NBA) Colorado Avalanche (NHL)

Horse Racing Betting In New Mexico

New Mexico actually has a comparatively robust, thriving horse racing industry, and the state is home to Ruidoso Downs, one of the oldest racetracks in America. As such, horse racing betting in New Mexico is something of an old tradition. In fact, Ruidoso Downs, opened in the 1940s, is the only US track that offers an oval Thoroughbred track and a separate Quarter Horse straightaway. Further, it is the site of several Grade I Thoroughbred races and hosts the last leg of the American Quarter Horse Triple Crown, the All American Futurity.

Simulcast wagering was introduced in New Mexico in 1989, and ten years later, slot machines were legally allowed at the venues, turning all NM tracks into bona fide racino facilities. Sunray Park & Casino in Farmington, NM, and Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino in Sunland Park, NM, are two of the other top venues in the state.

Daily Fantasy Sports In New Mexico

DFS, or Daily Fantasy Sports in New Mexico, is not technically legal, as there are no explicit laws formally declaring such to be the case. However, all major DFS operators – including DraftKings and FanDuel – do business in the state, and there has been no indication that this will change anytime soon. While many states currently have legislation to officially recognize DFS as a lawful practice, New Mexico is not on that list. However, the state could introduce any such bills at any time in the future.

Legal New Mexico Sports Betting FAQ’s

Can I Bet Real Money On Sports In New Mexico?

You can absolutely bet real money on sports in New Mexico, and you can win real money, too! Whether you wager at a land-based venue like the Santa Ana Star or use an offshore sportsbook for your legal New Mexico sports betting, big picks = big bucks!

Is Online Sports Betting Safe In New Mexico?

Yes, online sports betting is 100% safe in New Mexico. Using offshore sports betting sites is totally legal for all NM residents.

Will Sports Betting In New Mexico Ever Be Legal?

We are unsure if New Mexico legislators will go through a formal process of declaring sports betting legal in New Mexico. Their mindset to not challenge the laws as they stand are a clear indication that they support the industry in the state. Though new laws may one day be in the books, the tribal casinos are currently within their rights to offer sports betting as a part of Class III gaming, and no new law is likely to change that. Therefore, it is easier to just say that, for all intents and purposes, sports betting is already legal in New Mexico.

Will I Get Arrested For Sports Betting In New Mexico?

Nobody has ever been cited, fined, or arrested for participating in sports betting over the 30+ years that overseas books have been serving New Mexico. Until the state writes laws explicitly banning the practice and criminalizing individual bettors, you will not get into any legal hot water by wagering on sports in NM.

What Is the Sports Betting Age In New Mexico?

The legal sports betting age in New Mexico is 21 years old, as that’s how old you need to be to play in the state’s tribal and commercial casinos. That said, all the top offshore sportsbooks merely require their customers to be at least 18 in order to join and play. Still, because New Mexico does technically have that 21-year-old limit, it is always advisable to err on the side of caution and go with the state’s laws.

Are There Mobile Sports Betting Apps Available In New Mexico?

There are no tribal casino operated sports betting apps in New Mexico. Also, if you are looking to play from your phone, you should just utilize the small-screen-optimized versions of the offshore betting sites’ sportsbooks. As long as you have a modern mobile device with an up-to-date web browser and an Internet connection, you can game on the go, no matter where in NM – or the rest of the country – you happen to be.

Where Is The Best Place To Bet On Sports In New Mexico?

This all comes down to preference. Some people will prefer a place like the Santa Ana Star Casino or Buffalo Thunder Resort Casino due to the inclusive nature of the players. You can discuss wagering styles and be with like-minded gamblers, or you can choose the more focused approach of online gambling. No matter the place you bet on sports in New Mexico, just be comfortable and be sure to shop betting lines for your best odds.

Should I Use A Local Bookie In New Mexico?

No, you should not use a local, unlicensed bookie in New Mexico. While you would not be breaking the law to do so, the state will pursue those who operate sportsbooks without a license, and you could be putting all your money at risk. Plus, with local black-market bookies, there is no recourse for stolen funds, confiscated funds, or anything else. Sports betting is risky enough without having to put your faith in a potentially shady enterprise.

Do Any Casinos In New Mexico Have Sports Betting?

Yes, a variety of New Mexico casinos have opened their sports betting doors. It started in October 2018 and every so often a new casino will detail their expected launch. As these tribal casinos have nothing in their way, expect more to follow suit in the coming months. Legal New Mexico sports betting is here to stay!

It It Legal To Bet On Sports With My Friends In New Mexico?

Per New Mexico Statute § 30-19-15, it is technically unlawful for anyone to “knowingly accept…anything of value from another” for the purpose of “wagering on the results of a race, sporting event,” etc. This would seem to indicate that it is not legal to bet on sports with your friends in New Mexico. However, social gaming in private where the host takes no house fees or rake is typically overlooked by law enforcement, and any potential laws against it are not enforced. Still, if you’re concerned about social gaming, it is best to stick to legal New Mexico sports betting at land-based casinos and online, offshore sportsbooks.

When did sports betting become legal in New Mexico?
There is no definitive date for when sports betting in New Mexico became legal. That is because unlike every other state, there was no bill passed by the legislature that brought about legal sports betting in the state. Instead, Native American tribal casino owners found that they were able to open sportsbooks in the state under the current tribal gaming compact in place. The first legal sportsbook in New Mexico opened in Santa Ana Star on October 16, 2018.
How Many Sportsbooks Are There In New Mexico?

There are currently four sportsbooks in New Mexico and they are all land-based. Those include the Santa Ana Star Albuquerque, The Sportsbook At The Inn of the Mountain Gods, and Hilton Buffalo Thunder Sportsbook, and the Isleta Resort & Casino. Tribal casinos are able to legal open sportsbooks in New Mexico because of how the current tribal gaming compact is set up. If other tribes want to open their own sports wagering areas then they can, however, none have indicated that they will at this time.