New Mexico sports betting launched at the Santa Ana Star on October 16, 2018.

  • The Sportsbook at The Star in the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel in New Mexico reopened their doors almost two weeks ago after being closed since March.
  • No two-year anniversary celebrations are taking place for the sportsbook as COVID-19 prevention is receiving total focus by the establishment.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The Sportsbook at The Star inside New Mexico’s Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel is celebrating its two-year anniversary of being in business on Friday.

The Sportsbook was the first sports betting location in the state for both residents and tourists to wager on sporting events.

Offerings include most all professional and collegiate sports that span the nation with numerous betting types to go along with each matchup.

The Coronavirus Pandemic & The Sportsbook

With professional and college sports ceasing activities in March because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Sportsbook at The Star with Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel shut down operations on March 15. Their reopening occurred on October 3, having the establishment withstand almost seven months of being closed.

“Since our closure on March 15, 2020, we have stood back and carefully studied this issue from all sides,” said Melanie Martinez, The Tamaya Enterprises board of directors chairwoman. “The adverse impact of our closure extends beyond the Pueblo and has also affected other stakeholders such as employees, vendors, and guests. Our closure has allowed us the time to learn and implement very detailed safety plans.”

With the anniversary of the sportsbook happening less than two weeks after the location officially opened its doors for customers again, not much will be happening in terms of a celebration.

Upon reaching out to the Sportsbook at the Star, LegalSportsBetting was told that all efforts and attention were being focused on preventing the further spread of COVID-19 at the property. This means that all celebrations would be put on the back burner because the most pressing issue is ensuring the health safety of patrons that enter the facility.

Although they were the first sportsbook in the state to open, many other Tribal locations followed in their footsteps to expand into sports betting as well.

There are no rules that say revenue or profits of any kind need to be reported by any of these sportsbooks, Santa Ana Star included. As an “unregulated by the state” business running strictly through loopholes in Tribal compacts, there are no taxes that need to be paid strictly from sports betting activities.

All taxes and state payments are combined so that sports wagers have no definitive figures to which New Mexico would be privy to.

Two Years In Business

Without any real numbers to report on the amount of business that Santa Ana Star’s Sportsbook took in during their second year, one can only speculate on the topic.

Given that they were closed for nearly seven of the twelve months, it could be concluded that operations were far more fruitful in year one than in year two but that couldn’t be avoided because of COVID-19.

Currently, the Sportsbook and the casino are opened at 30% capacities. Food, bar, and shuttle services are still closed to visitors. Staff and patrons are required to wear face masks and no smoking is allowed. Plexiglass has been installed to implement social distancing rules. Hand sanitizer can be found on the property and cleanings will be done periodically during the day in high traffic areas.

Temperature checks at the door are required for entry and thermal cameras indoors will make sure no one inside has a temperature of over 100.0°F.

New hours of operation are Sunday – Thursday 9 a.m. – 1 a.m. and Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.

New Mexico sports betting regulars and Santa Ana Star will be looking forward to an anniversary when celebrating, and not Coronavirus prevention, will be the main focus. But until then, the business is pleased with how they are handling operations.

“We are proud of the plan we’ve put together and the extensive training we’ve done with our team for the last several months. Our safety practices in place now were written to a standard to withstand worsening conditions,” said John Cirrincione, CEO of Santa Ana Star. “We see the COVID crisis as something that will be with us for at least two years, so why not do it right. At this time, we are going to carefully progress with thoughtful consideration given to each step forward. We are ready, very well-prepared and excited to welcome our team members and guests back to the Star.”

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