SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico Representatives have expressed their belief that the New Mexico Lottery Authority should not include a sports wagering game. 

The state lottery has attempted to expand their gaming options by unanimously approving a parlay-style wagering game for all of their retail outlets.

Representative Jason Harper (R-Rio Ranch) took a strong stance on the NMLA’s decision. 

“When the Supreme Court ruled, it did not change any laws in New Mexico, so why the lottery thinks it can do sports betting now again shows we have a rogue lottery in our state,” Harper said. 

The result? Harper, along with Representatives Matthew McQueen and Rod Montoya, sponsored House Bill 441 which aims to put firm restrictions on the state lottery. 

What Are The Details Of The Bill?

House Bill 441 will limit “any type of sports betting or betting on other real events” according to the bill’s text.

Additionally, it prohibits the authority from offering video lottery games, mobile gaming options, and selling lottery tickets from gas pumps and ATMs.

The CEO of the New Mexico Lottery David Barden believes that the possibly prohibited games would bring in over $30 million in revenue each year.

The lottery will still be able to offer the existing products that “keep them focused on their given authority.” Representative McQueen stated. “We created the lottery to do lottery games, not sports betting.”

The Impact And Future Of Sports Betting At Tribal Casinos In New Mexico

This bill has no impact on legal sports betting in New Mexico as tribal casinos are granted the full authority to offer Class III gaming.

Last year, The Santa Ana Star Casino in Albuquerque became the first tribal casino to accept wagers. New Mexico has not passed any regulations for the industry but they also have zero laws preventing sportsbooks in the state. 

McQueen continued to explain that this bill does not signify tribal exclusivity to the sports betting industry in New Mexico; moreover, it does not warrant that there will be no expansion for a state-run platform.

The bill has been through its first reading and was sent to the Elections and Indian Affairs Committee at the end of January. The Committee has not discussed it any further, nor is the bill discussion on the docket for this week.

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