Online Poker and Gambling Laws in New Mexico

2020 Update: Can I Play Online Poker in New Mexico?

New Mexico still hasn’t regulated online poker, but it was one of the first states to offer sports betting. New Mexico was the sixth state to allow sports betting after the 2018 Supreme Court ruling opened the doors, but the state hasn’t legalized it yet. How has that happened? Well, New Mexico is home to several Native American tribes and there are tons of tribal casinos throughout New Mexico.

The Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel was the first New Mexico casino to offer sports betting. It started in October 2018 and since then several other casinos have followed suit. It’s interesting because, in a lot of states, it’s been tribal casinos that have opposed sports betting and expanded gaming. There are no online sports betting though. Any online gaming would need the state to weigh in. The good news is that New Mexico might not face tribal pushback when it comes to online poker as other states do.

Santa Fe New Mexico Poker

Santa Fe, New Mexico (Photo by Maddy Baker on Unsplash)

Online Poker and Gambling Laws in New Mexico?

New Mexico hasn’t regulated online poker yet, but the state does offer several forms of gambling. Most notably are tribal casinos. New Mexico has a large Native American population and a lot of Native American casinos. These are all independent from state and federal regulations though. New Mexico has fairly strict rules when it comes to gambling. The state regulates gambling in their state statutes. Section 30-19.2 states the following:

“Gambling consists of; making a bet, entering or remaining in a gambling place with intent to make a bet, to participate in a lottery or to play a gambling device, conducting a lottery, or possessing facilities with intent to conduct a lottery.”

Section 30-19.1B defines a “bet” as:

“A bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance, even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose anything of value specified in the agreement.”

What’s notable here is that New Mexico includes “some skill” in its definition of a bet. Some states only rely on chance, which gives poker an easier path since a federal judge ruled it to be a game of skill. No poker player would argue that there isn’t some “chance” in poker though. The inclusion of “some skill” could put poker under this law and would mean the state would have to take it up

Can I Play Poker on PokerStars in New Mexico?

Nope. There was a day when you were able to play PokerStars in New Mexico and all across the United States. Those days are gone, but they’re slowly coming back. PokerStars is slowly starting to come back to the US but is only available in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It might make its way to New Mexico again, but not anytime soon. In the meantime, there are some pretty great PokerStars alternatives for poker players in New Mexico. Sites like Ignition Poker and Americas Cardroom offer great games, solid player pools and great poker experience. Check out our full reviews below and find a site that works for you:

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Legal Forms of Gambling in New Mexico

There are several ways to gamble in New Mexico. Most forms have been around for decades and are widely popular throughout the state. New Mexico has a lottery, offers pari-mutuel betting and charitable gaming. The state also has a large Native American population and has grown to have lots of Native American Casinos. They have large leeway in the games they offer. They even started offering sports betting soon after a Supreme Court ruling paved the way for states to do so in 2018.

Here’s a breakdown of the legal forms of gambling in New Mexico:

State Lottery

On April 5, 1985, Gov. Gary Johnson signed Senate Bill 853. This created the New Mexico Lottery Authority. The lottery grossed $28.5 million with a net profit of $6.3 million in its first year. Gross sales jumped to $82.4 million with a profit of $21.9 million in the second year. Now the lottery generates about $132 million a year in revenue.

Pari-Mutuel Wagering

Horse Racing is regulated by, §60-1A-1 thru §60-1A-30 NMSA 1978 of the New Mexico Statutes. Horse racing requires a state license that allows for betting on live races to be legal. Pari-mutuel is allowed on licensed premises where a live horse race is conducted. You can also do it on a simulcast horse race. You can also play slot machines at race tracks

Indian Casinos

New Mexico is home to 22 Native American Tribes. Fourteen of those tribes run a casino. There are a total of 20 Indian casinos. Click here for a historical timeline of Indian casinos in New Mexico. Many people play poker at Indian casinos in New Mexico too.

Charitable Gaming

The Bingo and Raffle Act says “qualified” or “charitable” organizations can run gambling events. They get licenses from the New Mexico Gaming Control Board and can have scheduled bingo games and/or to sell pull tabs and raffle tickets. The money raised must go to a “lawful purpose”.

Specific State-by-State Laws

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