New Mexico Tribes Seek Online Gambling Ban

As online gambling becomes a reality among individual states, those with a stake in the land based industries eye these developments with interest.  At times, efforts will be made to incorporate online and terrestrial gambling, as in the case of New Jersey and Nevada, while in other cases – such as in New Mexico – land based interests are building obstacles to any sort of online gambling presence in the state.

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The latest developments in New Mexico show that state authorities and the Navajo Tribes of the area are seeking to create a new tribal contract that will discourage the adoption of pro-online gambling laws.  The terms of the deal, which are still under negotiation, seek to ban online gambling in New Mexico – including online poker – and if the state does permit it at a later stage, Navajo casinos will stop sharing their slot machine revenues with the state.  The contract also states that should online gambling become a reality in New Mexico, the tribe would enter into ‘good faith negotiations’ with authorities to develop a new revenue sharing contract, based on the impact that online gambling will have on the local gambling industry.

The governor’s office issued a statement saying that these terms were intended to discourage the adoption of internet gaming in the state, while ensuring that if online gambling was adopted, revenue sharing would continue – taking into account any new benefit or detriment to the Navajo.

A joint Committee on Compacts endorsed the contract, which was sent to lawmakers for approval, however it never made it to the final floor of the last session. The contract will be resubmitted when legislators meet next.

Justifying the state’s stance on internet gambling, a spokesperson for governor Susana Martinez, Enrique Knell said: “While the impact of Internet gaming is uncertain, the state believes that brick and mortar (tribal) facilities will provide for more jobs and better serve the interests of New Mexico economic development.”

“It’s also reasonable to believe that social and financial problems related to gambling could be worse if Internet gaming is allowed,” he added.

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