New Mexico Legislature

  • Mobile sportsbooks in New Mexico and racino sports betting would be made legal through House Bill 101 that has been sent to the New Mexico Legislature for consideration.
  • Funds from this part of the sports wagering market would go to the Lottery Scholarship and the General Fund of New Mexico.
  • Estimates show an annual revenue of $40 million from the legalization of this bill.

SANTA FE, N.M.The New Mexico Legislature will be hearing a new bill proposal that would make sports betting legal at racinos in the state.

There are five locations statewide that would be able to offer legal sports betting as well as blackjack, craps, and poker to their customers.

New Mexico already has sports wagering at Tribal locations but this legislation would allow for the racino venues to expand into gambling on sporting events that would use the profits generated from the industry to fund higher education initiatives.

House Bill 101 – The New Mexico Lottery Education Assistance Act

There has been a decrease in the funds that the New Mexico Lottery has been able to provide to students seeking higher education.

House Bill 101 aims to supplement all of the money that is no longer coming in via the lottery with the addition of sports betting and the handful of table games written within the bill.

“We always have trouble with (the) lottery (scholarship fund,) sometimes we’ve got good funds in the state treasury, sometimes we don’t,” said Senator Steven Neville (R-Farmington.), a primary sponsor to the bill. “So those years when we don’t have (adequate funds,) we certainly need something to shore up the lottery, make sure we can send our kids to college and get them educated.”

Professional and collegiate sports betting would be open for wagers under the current draft of the proposal that has been filed.

There will be the five racino locations that would open sports betting to patrons as well as mobile sportsbook platforms available for gamblers in the state to use from wherever they are in NM. It’s projected that $40 million will be seen annually in revenue from the market should this proposal be approved and made into law.

Of that estimate, $15 million would be put toward higher education funds through the Lottery Scholarship with the other $25 million going to the General Fund. The General Fund is money for the state that is dispersed to areas of the economy that need funding most.

What’s Next For New Mexico’s Sports Betting Industry

Expanding the legal sports betting industry in New Mexico through the lottery would not infringe on any Tribal Gaming Compacts in the state.

The agreements that the Tribes have will remain unaffected and intact should this proposal pass, which means opposition if any, on House Bill 101 would not be an issue because no boundaries are being crossed while adding revenue at racetracks and the general economy.

“The benefit to the racetrack is traffic,” said Neville. “They get more people in the facility, they sell a couple beers, they sell a meal or two, and that helps them on their bottom line, but again, the actual gaming itself, those dollars would go to the lottery program.”

The New Mexico Legislature convened for its 2021 session on January 19 and it will adjourn on March 20 for the year. House Bill 101 has not yet been scheduled to be heard on the floor. All decisions for gaming legalization for the NM Lottery Education Assistance Act will need to be made before the adjournment in March.

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