In some states, legalized sports betting seems like a formality. It is just another revenue source to add to the state budget. In the state of New Mexico, there is a lot more nuance. The people of New Mexico are some of the poorest in the country and that creates a lot of socioeconomic talking points in the push for legal wagering.

New Mexico is already a state with casinos, and quite a few of them, with most of the on Indian lands. There are a few racinos, but the vast majority of gaming centers are on Native American land. The state government in New Mexico has always worked closely with the tribes by the very nature of the state, so their opinions and thoughts are going to carry a lot of weight when the discussions actually begin.

Most people scoff at the anti-gaming sentiment about problem gambling and how games of chance often prey on those who have the least means with which to play. In the state of New Mexico, that seems to ring truer than in other states. Per this editorial in the Albuquerque Journal, about half of the state’s residents are on Medicaid and one in four is on food stamps. That is scary to think about when you consider that New Mexico is 36th in population.

Personal responsibility goes a long way, but the government in New Mexico may not even want to open that door for a state afflicted by so much poverty and financial need. On the other hand, using sports betting to pump money back into several of the state’s key programs could also provide a boost for New Mexicans. Therein lies a big part of the discussion that has to take place when the legislation can sit down and talk.

Recent News Stories About Betting

In the Santa Fe New Mexican, Milan Simonich penned an editorial with his thoughts on how sports betting can’t save a poor state.

In a piece for the RR Observer, Gary Herron wrote (login required) about how the state and its representatives seem rather torn on this expansion of gambling, despite the ways and means to do it via Native American casinos.

Some fascinating research done by KOB 4 in Albuquerque might be the best piece of journalism linked on any of these state-by-state pages. The piece compiled by Steve Soliz includes poll results from citizens.


At this point in time, the situation in New Mexico looks very cloudy. In fact, no legalized sports betting could very well be a favorite if odds were to be set. Not only does the state legislature have to figure something out, but the people of New Mexico could very well shoot it down. Arizona is moving quickly, but New Mexico’s other neighbors really are not and Utah will never approve it, so the loss of revenue argument carries a lot less weight.

Neighboring States