• NM HB 441 looks to stop state lottery from expanding operations
  • State lottery will not be allowed to offer sports betting
  • New Mexico will continue to have sports betting through the tribes

SANTA FE, N.M. – Lawmakers in New Mexico’s House of Representatives voted unanimously on a bill on Monday to prevent the New Mexico Lottery Authority from expanding to offer sports betting.

The State House in New Mexico has passed NM HB 441 which is specifically aimed to prevent the state lottery from expanding their operations. This bill does not impact current sports betting operations in the state.

No Impact On Sports Betting In The State

Although there have been no sports betting bills to pass in New Mexico, the tribes in the state are allowed to offer sports wagering. That is because of the tribal compact they have with the state that authorizes Class III games. Since betting on sports is considered a Class III game and there is no state law that prohibits sports betting, the tribes can offer the service for their customers.

As it stands, this bill will allow the tribes to be the sole authority to offer sports betting. Representative Matthew McQueen says the purpose of the bill is not to make the tribes the only authority of sports betting, but to rein-in the lottery.

“This is just telling the lottery authority that we created the lottery to do lottery games, not sports betting,” McQueen said. “They’re trying to expand, and we’re trying to keep them focused on their given authority.”

Future Sports Betting Expansion Is Still Possible

Although this bill may appear like lawmakers are preventing other gaming authorities to provide sports betting, that isn’t the case. NM HB 441 is made specifically to reign in the state’s lottery and prevent them from expanding their operations.

Because the legislation does not outright ban sports betting nor does it ban the expansion of it, there is still a possibility that expansion could happen. Sports gambling could still be expanded through the state’s racinos or their other gaming operations. For now, no such bill exists that would aim to do that.

Residents from New Mexico do not have to worry if they are currently enjoying sports betting. Sports betting will still be offered by the same tribal casinos that had sportsbooks in the first place. The only main thing residents need to be aware of is that it is possible that locations that offer lottery tickets are unlikely going to offer sports betting.

Although NM HB 441 passed in the House unanimously, the bill still needs to go through the Senate before it will be sent to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham for her signature. If that happens, then the lottery will no longer have the authority to expand their operations to include sports betting.

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