A Complete Overview of Online Gambling in New Mexico

New Mexico Legal Online Casinos Overview:

  • Status: Legal – offline, illegal online.
  • Introduced: No legislation currently introduced
  • Bill sponsor: No current sponsor for online gambling legalization

In New Mexico’s early history, much of the state’s gambling activities remained very quiet. In all likelihood, gambling did take place, unregulated, out in the New Mexico desert. After all, we’re talking about the Wild West. Go back a few centuries, and New Mexico looked like a series of communities and outposts that got caught in the middle of the Mexican War of Independence. In fact, it didn’t actually officially join the United States until January 6, 1912.

New Mexico’s gambling history really began after World War II. During the early years, as an official member of the United States, New Mexico banned all games of chance. However, Native American tribes changed all that when they started a movement that would finally bring gambling out to the Land of Enchantment and its neighboring southwestern states.

The doors opened to gambling in 1947 with the legalization of betting on horse racing. New Mexico gambling laws dictated that state residents could participate in on-track pari-mutuel betting, or pooled betting. And so the race was on! All across the state of New Mexico, new horse racing tracks began to pop up and flourish. In fact, NM has one of the largest proportions of horses per person compared to any of the other 50 states.

State legislatures passed a law allowing casinos in 1995. The already established horse racing tracks followed suit by offering slot machines at their facilities. Today, the casino/horse racing, or racino, industry continues to grow throughout the state. One of its more recent additions, Zia Park Casino, Hotel and Racetrack in Hobbs, New Mexico offers slot machines, electronic table games, casual restaurants, fine-dining establishments, live and simulcast racing and a 154-room hotel.

Native American tribes got their skin in the game and began operating their own places to gamble out in the Land of Enchantment. In the eighties, Indian tribes ran bingo halls and class 1 gaming machines in casinos. Then, The Federal Indian Gaming Act of 1988 came into play, which established an official jurisdictional framework over Indian gaming. The controversial law put into question the level of sovereignty tribes had over their lands and laws compared to the US government.

Over the years, legal cases and debates have more or less given tribal casinos authority over their commercial gaming within their lands, although many US lawmakers have expressed concern over the lack of regulations in place. Problems arose in New Mexico when the former NM Governor, Bruce King, refused to sign the agreement giving tribes the ability to run their own casinos. He lost financial backing and eventually his seat.

Governor Gary Johnson took over and signed the compacts in 1995. From then on, Native American tribes could operate a full range of casino games including slot machines, table games and poker rooms.

New Mexico Casinos: The Big Boom

The gambling industry really began to blossom in the nineties. Full-scale casino-resort-hotels went up throughout the state, mostly owned by 14 of the state’s Indian tribes. Some of the state’s most popular and lavish casinos include:

The Inn of The Mountain Gods: Located in Mescalero, New Mexico, this tribal casino offers an oasis in the southwestern United States. Gamblers will delight in the Las Vegas-style gambling variety. The 45,000-square-foot casino houses Blackjack, slot machines, poker rooms, and bingo. The resort has more than just casino games with outdoor activities like zip lining and hiking in the fresh mountain air. The Inn of the Mountain Gods also hosts a hotel, entertainment venue, spa and conference room.

Sandia Resort & Casino: Albuquerque’s Sandia Resort and Casino combines gambling, entertainment and a relaxing getaway all into one. The venue hosts everything from weddings to conferences, but gamblers will have their eyes on the huge gaming floor. Sandia houses over 2,300 slots plus bingo, poker, Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, Pai Gow Poker and Baccarat tables.

Isleta Resort & Casino: Isleta provides a place for pure indulgence, from unlimited gambling options to live music and spas. Situated in Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico, the Isleta tribal casino often hosts competitive poker tournaments, gambling contests and casino promotions.

New Mexico Gambling Overview:

  • Year New Mexico regulated offline and online gambling: 1947, offline
  • New Mexico gambling age: 21
  • New Mexico bingo and pari-mutuel betting age: 18
  • Legal online casino games in New Mexico: Class I, Class II, Class III
  • Number of commercial racinos: 2
  • Number of tribal casinos: 25

Gambling in New Mexico: What’s Legal?

The landscape of gambling laws in the United States continues to change, especially in recent years. That comes after an important ruling from the US Supreme Court which lifted the country-wide ban on sports betting in 2018. That gives each state the opportunity to decide whether to allow sports betting within their borders.

State after state across the nation have seized the opportunity to allow sports betting. New Mexico along with New Jersey, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware and Mississippi have passed laws legalizing sports betting.

Because New Mexico primarily has tribal casinos, the Native Americans also mostly control sports betting throughout the state. Once the US Supreme Court lifted the ban on sports betting, New Mexico took notice and legalized sports book. Soon thereafter, prominent casino businessmen, Robert Walker and Vic Salerno, formed a deal with the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel in Santa Ana Pueblo. Santa Ana Star now offers sports book live at their facilities, and punters can place bets on a range of sporting events in an exciting, resort-style atmosphere.

Although New Mexico has jumped on board and legalized sports betting, it has not passed laws permitting online sports book. Currently, state lawmakers haven’t had any serious discussions about legal online casinos or sports betting apps in NM. However, with so many states raking in huge profits on online bets, this may change in the near future.

Legal Offline Gambling in New Mexico:

  • Casinos
  • Slots
  • Blackjack
  • Poker
  • Roulette
  • Baccarat
  • Sports betting
  • State lottery
  • Bingo
  • Racing
  • Social Gaming
  • Commercial casinos
  • Charitable gambling
  • Tribal Gaming: 25 tribal casinos

Each state has its own laws pertaining to gambling. When it comes to New Mexico, the state has one of the broadest definitions of gambling on the books. New Mexican law defines gambling as “making a bet.” It’s important to note that, because the state has mostly tribal casinos, most gambling falls under the jurisdiction of the National Indian Gaming Commission.

New Mexico has some rather strict laws regarding gambling. According to Statue 30-19.2, simply being in an illegal establishment with the intent to bet counts as a crime. The first offense for violating this law can land you a petty misdemeanor. However, a second office counts as a felony.

Still, as indicated in statue 30.19.1, these laws do not include the following forms of gambling:

  • Statue 30.19.1 (3): a lottery as defined in this section
  • Statue 30.19.1 (4): betting otherwise permitted by law

Online Casinos in New Mexico: What You Should Know

Although the state has a successful gambling industry in terms of land-based operations, as of yet, New Mexico has not legalized online betting. That means gamblers, whether state residents or visitors to New Mexico, cannot legally gamble online in New Mexico. With that said, in 2016, NM lawmakers legalized daily fantasy sports online. Players can choose between several of the available fantasy and esports apps available within the state.

Looking ahead, what should gamblers expect when it comes to New Mexico online casinos? So far, legislation toward legalizing online gambling hasn’t had much traction in the state. However, many other states across the country have legalized different forms of online betting such as online poker, online sports betting, online bingo, online slots and online table games. Gambling apps and online casinos have brought in tremendous revenue for these states, which many other states simply can’t ignore.

So will New Mexico join the rest of the states and permit legal online casinos? Only time will tell, but with such a huge potential for these markets to rake in millions, even billions in revenue, the possibility of New Mexico online casinos could become a reality fairly soon.

Are New Mexico Online Casinos Legal for Non-New Mexico Residents?

While New Mexico has a rich selection of gambling available, from luxurious casino resorts to fast-paced horse race betting, the state does not currently have any legal online casinos.

What types of games do New Mexico online casinos have available?

The state of New Mexico does not have any legal online casinos available. However, New Mexico does have several fantasy sports apps available to play on smartphones and tablets.

Can I play online casino in New Mexico if I don’t live there?

Although many states throughout the country have legalized online casinos in some form or another, New Mexico hasn’t jumped on board just yet. That law applies to anyone in New Mexico, whether a state resident or just in town for vacation. Also keep in mind, if you come from a state that allows online betting, such as Nevada or New Jersey, you cannot continue to use your online betting apps while within New Mexico borders.

Do offshore online casinos operate in New Mexico?

Currently, New Mexico does not have any online casinos operating within the state. That also means that the state does not allow any offshore casinos either.

How to Choose the Best Online Casino in New Mexico

A lot of changes are taking place across the country when it comes to gambling, especially after the 2018 Supreme Court ruling lifting the ban on sports betting. While New Mexicans can’t legally bet online, it might not take long for legislators to pass laws allowing online casinos. Not to mention, if you live in New Mexico, you have the opportunity to visit other US states that have already legalized online gambling in different forms. In anticipation, we’ve developed a guide on how to choose the best online casino in New Mexico (and anywhere else in the world where it’s already legal).

How to Choose the Best New Mexico Online Casino Games

If you’ve already visited a land-based casino in New Mexico, or anywhere for that matter, you know the importance of variety and quality when it comes to casino games. When choosing an online casino, you’ll want to make sure the gambling site has the games you like the most and plenty of them.

So if you love slot machines, check the gaming selection to make sure the online casino has all the top slot games, from classic 3 and 5 reel games to modern 3D video slots with 243 ways to win. Do you love a good game of cards? Look for a gambling site that offers a full selection of table and card games like online poker, Blackjack, Roulette, cCraps, Baccarat and everything in between. Some sites host live casinos: a fully immersive online gaming experience that streams dealers from behind the tables in real-time.

Online casinos often have more than just casino games, and many US states have already legalized online sports betting, fantasy sports and esports. If you consider yourself a big sports fan or just want to give punting a try, check to see if the casino has a sports betting option. You can bet on the nation’s biggest sporting events like the Super Bowl or March Madness. Sports betting apps should have as much variety as possible featuring international, national and local teams.

New Mexico Online Casino Welcome Bonuses and Sign Up Offers

If the glorious day finally arrives when New Mexico online casinos become legal then you definitely need to learn about the highly-coveted welcome bonus. These enormous welcome offers give new players hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars to play online casino games. Often times, the casino will match your first several deposits by a certain amount. You could start off with double or triple the amount you deposit.

In addition, casino sign up bonuses usually give away free spins to play slots risk-free. When choosing an online casino, make sure to pick the biggest welcome bonus to get the most bang for your buck.

Ongoing Casino Bonuses and Promotions

Low-quality online casinos may lure in new players with a lucrative welcome bonus and then leave them high and dry after that. If you plan to stick with a casino and gamble often, you’ll want to choose a casino that keeps on giving back to its loyal players. Before joining, have a look at the casino’s promotions page and calendar to find out if the site has ongoing bonuses.

Some of the most popular New Mexico online casino bonuses would include things like match deposit offers, free spins, tournaments, prize giveaways, refer-a-friend bonuses and holiday specials. When it comes to sports book, look for ongoing bonuses like free play, cash back and match deposit promos.

VIP Clubs and Loyalty Points Programs

The best online casinos in New Mexico (if and when they become legal) should host special rewards for its most loyal players. That’s why, if you play like a high roller or enjoy gambling often, you should look for a casino that hosts VIP and loyalty programs. While similar, they don’t always work in the same way. Here’s a quick overview:

  • VIP Clubs: Casino VIP clubs may allow all players to qualify or only include members by invitation only. As a VIP member you’ll benefit from exclusive promotions, receive tickets to VIP events, enjoy dedicated support and much more.
  • Loyalty Points Program: Loyalty points programs work a bit differently than VIP Clubs, but share some similarities as well. Usually, players automatically qualify for a loyalty rewards program once they start playing for real money. Players receive points for every bet they make. As the points accumulate, the player rises in a tier-style program which qualifies them for rewards and bonuses. Some casinos may also give members the opportunity to trade in loyalty points for cash, prizes and casino credits.

Online Casino Customer Support

Choosing a casino that offers outstanding customer support will ultimately enhance your gambling experience. The best New Mexico online casinos should offer support through a variety of channels like live chat, online contact form, toll-free telephone numbers, Skype and email. If you live in New Mexico, you may also want a casino that offers support in both English and Spanish. The top online casinos should also have plenty of information and resources available on-site. In this way, you can find answers to your questions without even having to contact support in the first place.

Online Casino Portals and Player Reviews

When in doubt, it helps to find out what other players have to say about the casino. You can easily get player feedback about a brand before even registering or placing bets at a casino. Online casino reviews will also provide the information you need to know regarding gaming options, software, welcome bonuses, ongoing promotions, available customers support and so on.

Not to mention, online casino portals post up-to-date information about the latest news in gambling. If you love to gamble, you can keep track of breaking news regarding New Mexico online casinos. Signing up for newsletters or checking in regularly will keep you informed about new or potential changes in US online gambling law. With so many changes happening so rapidly, you’ll want to keep yourself in the loop.

The Bottom Line on New Mexico Online Gambling

New Mexico has a thriving gambling industry, with tribal casinos and racinos spread throughout the state. Nicknamed the Land of Enchantment, New Mexico certainly has its fair share of lavish gambling establishments enhanced by a backdrop of gorgeous landscapes. Gamblers can enjoy a full range of games at land-based establishments like slots, poker, Blackjack, Roulette and horse racing.

New Mexico has also become one of the first states in the country to legalize sports betting. The Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel has spearheaded the emerging market and launched its own live sports book. In all likelihood, most tribal casinos will soon host sports betting on their premises.

While New Mexico has taken a progressive approach toward gambling, for the most part, the state has not legalized online betting just yet. However, with so many states like Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware and Rhode Island passing laws allowing some form of online betting, New Mexico may follow suit in the near future. Stay tuned to find out exciting new developments if and when New Mexico online casinos become legal.