• New Mexico has not yet officially passed legislation to legalize sports betting
  • The Santa Ana Star, located outside of Santa Fe, was the first N.M. sportsbook

SANTA FE, N.M. – Sports Betting in New Mexico just got even more accessible this week, as the Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino unveiled the grand opening of their land-based sportsbook in Santa Fe.

The casino becomes the second official sports betting venue in the state of N.M. and the second sportsbook to open in the Santa Fe area.

The Hilton Buffalo Thunder Casino now provides the public an opportunity to place bets on sports as well as pari-mutuel wagers on horse racing either with a sportsbook writer or with their on-site betting kiosks.

The sports betting venture was started between Jay Vaccaro, owner of the South Point Hotel & Casino in Nevada, and John Gaughan, owner of National Sportsbook Management (NSBM).

NSBM is in charge of supplying hardware and software support to the Santa Fe based sportsbook and they partnered with Stadium Technology Group in order to provide additional sports betting technology.

However, one piece of technology they did not include was mobile betting. There are currently no sports betting apps available in New Mexico and the Hilton Buffalo Thunder Casino has not announced plans to introduce one.

How They Are Able To Open

In October of last year, the Santa Ana Star became the first sports wagering venue to open in New Mexico. The opening came as a complete surprise to residents and state officials alike, but they claimed a certain provision in their tribal compact allowed them to do so.

According to the state’s tribal compact, Native American operated casinos have the ability to offer all forms of Class III gaming within their facilities.

Since the Federal Register cited sports betting as a form of Class III gaming, the Pueblo of Santa Ana decided that no new compact was needed in order to offer the activity.

The state has yet to devise a bill to stop them from offering this type of gaming, which has allowed for other tribes to join.

The only bill that has been introduced so far is New Mexico House Bill NM HB 441 and it only seeks to stop the state’s lottery agency from getting involved in the sports betting market.

It seems as though the door is wide open for other tribal casinos to open their own land-based sportsbook in N.M. and it may only be a matter of time before they do.

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