Is Online Sports Betting Legal in New Mexico?
Legal sports betting has arrived in New Mexico.
Although there are currently no options to place bets online, players in NM can bet on sports in person at the Santa Ana Star Casino just 10 miles outside of Albuquerque.
More and more US states are legalizing sports gambling and New Mexico is getting in on the action. With one tribal casino already accepting bets, and more expressing interest in doing the same, we expect the state to take steps towards more widespread legalization in 2019.
In this complete guide to legal sports betting in New Mexico we’ll take a close look at the current laws in the state and what we expect to happen in the near future. We’ll explain where in New Mexico you can make bets and what sports you can bet on.
Finally, we’ll explore the daily fantasy sports betting situation in the state and then answer some of the most frequently asked questions about New Mexico sports betting.
New Mexico Sports Betting at a Glance
New Mexico has become the sixth state to legalize sports betting since the 2018 US Supreme Court decision to strike down a federal ban on sports gambling that had been in effect since 1992. New Mexico joins Delaware, Mississippi, New Jersey, Nevada, and West Virginia as part of the first wave of states to offer legal betting options.
New Mexico’s situation is unique, however. Unlike the other states on that list, New Mexico saw a tribal casino begin taking bets on sports before any official state legislation had been passed.
The Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel, located on the land of the Pueblo of Santa Ana Tamaya Nation tribe accepted its first bets in October of 2018. The compact that New Mexico has with the tribe allows all forms of gambling which meant it was free to offer sports betting following the US Supreme Court decision.
The state of New Mexico hasn’t officially introduced legislation to legalize sports betting but many industry experts believe it will happen soon since sports gambling is already available in the state via the tribal casino.
The Current Online Sports Betting Situation in New Mexico
There’s a lot going on in New Mexico sports betting and we want to highlight a few key facts before we get into more detail:
- Only one casino offers sports betting and currently does not have mobile or online wagering.
- There are rumors that a second tribal casino, the Inn of the Mountain Gods which is operated by the Mescalero Apache tribe, in Ruidoso, is planning to open another sportsbook in 2019.
- Pueblo of Santa Ana Gaming Regulatory Commission will oversee all sports betting activity.
- Operations will be managed by Las Vegas-based USBookmaking.
- Initial betting limits are $5 minimum, $500 maximum per wager.
- No wagering permitted on New Mexico or New Mexico State NCAA sports.
If you haven’t heard, the recent Supreme Court decision was an absolute game-changer in the United States sports betting industry.
So what exactly happened and how does it affect New Mexico?
In May of 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of an appeal by the state of New Jersey that sought to overturn a quarter-century old ban on sports gambling. That law, called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), basically prohibited sports gambling everywhere in the USA except for Nevada.
Getting rid of PASPA gave every state the opportunity to create its own laws on sports gambling to decide if it should be allowed and in what form. Four states joined Nevada right off the bat. New Mexico, being the sixth in the nation, has gone about it in a different manner than all the rest.
Due to a loophole in their compact with local tribal groups that neither prohibits or sanctions legal sports betting, the Santa Ana tribe can and has lawfully established sports gambling on its land in an unheralded manner. Details of said loophole can be found in the section below.
New Mexico Sports Betting Laws Summary
The biggest difference between New Mexico and other states is a specific part of the agreement that the state made with the Pueblo of Santa Ana Tamaya Nation tribe regarding gambling.
It says that all Class III gambling is allowed which includes both sports betting and pari-mutuel wagering.
A direct transcript from the compact states:
The Tribe may conduct, only on Indian Lands, subject to all of the terms and conditions of this Compact, any or all forms of casino-style gaming, including but not limited to slot machines and other forms of electronic gaming devices; all forms of poker, blackjack and other casino-style card games, both banked and unbanked; roulette; craps; keno; wheel of fortune; pai gow; and other games played in casino settings; and any form of a lottery.
Details of the current standing are as follows:
- First state to take bets without official state legislature regulating sports betting.
- Tribal-State compact allows all forms of Class III gaming.
- Sports gambling and pari-mutuel wagering are included in Class III gaming.
- Betting on all major sports and NCAA with the exception of college teams in New Mexico.
- No alcohol will be served in the sportsbook
- Sportsbook open Noon to 8pm on weekdays; 7am to 10pm on weekends.
- Must be 21 years of age to gamble anywhere in casino.
The History of Online Sports Betting in New Mexico
If you love gambling New Mexico has been a great place to live for a long time, since the late 1940s in fact. There are both tribal and state-based casinos as well as several horse racing tracks.
New Mexico’s situation is interesting because of their progressive approach to overturning old laws and regulations. Let's look at some of the most historic gambling moments from the state’s past.
- 1947 - Legalization of horse racing. First legal Pari-Mutuel Horse race betting starts at Hollywood park - now called Ruidoso Park.
- 1978 - Charity gambling and bingo legalized for seniors for small stakes. Not for profit of organizers.
- 1988 - Governor refuses to sign deals for 1988 Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Loses subsequent election.
- 1990 - New officials of state government re-negotiates compacts with Native Tribes,
- 1995 - Tribal compacts become law. New casinos established. Horse racing tracks allowed to feature slot machines as part of this deal so as to compete with casinos.
- 1995 - New Mexico lottery created.
- 2011 - Albuquerque Downs Casino opens, becoming the first non-tribal casino.
- October 16, 2018 - The first legal sports bet is placed in New Mexico at the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel sportsbook.
The very first bet was a $30 moneyline wager placed on the Houston Astros to defeat the Boston Red Sox. Unfortunately, the ticket lost.
While New Mexicans have enjoyed a progressive stance on gambling as a whole in recent decades, these new developments are certain to bring even more local interest. Since the casino and sportsbook remain private and owned by the tribal nation, it is unknown what sort of revenue will go to the state.
Tax revenue and public demand are the two biggest factors that push state lawmakers into action and New Mexico seems to have both of them covered.
Which Online Sports Betting Sites are Legal in New Mexico?
You cannot make any sports bets online in New Mexico, yet. For that reason there are currently no online sportsbooks available in the state.
The following is from the tribal/state compact and suggests that online betting is a possibility but would require the state to legalize internet gaming and make an amendment to the compact:
“In the event that internet gaming is authorized within the State, the State and the Tribe agree that they will reopen good faith negotiations to evaluate the impact, if any, of internet gaming and consider adjustments to the Compact. The parties understand and agree that it is not possible to determine at this time what, if any, adjustments to the Compact would be necessary.”
At the moment there is only the option to place bets in person at one of the four kiosks within the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel sportsbook.
There are two self-service kiosks open 24/7 and clerks are available to take your bets from noon to 8pm on weekdays and from 7am to 10pm on weekends.
It is still unknown if and when online betting on sports will be available in New Mexico but with this first sportsbook already running the future looks bright.
Sports gambling, specifically online sports gambling, is a massive money maker and New Mexico is poised to reap the rewards should they proceed with legalization in 2019.
What Sports Can You Bet on Online in New Mexico?
At the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel sportsbook you can bet on all major sports and many less popular non-marquee sports. It’s possible to bet on NCAA sports with the exception of games that involve New Mexico-based collegiate teams.
So unfortunately for fans of the New Mexico University Lobos or the New Mexico State Aggies, watching the game without betting on it will have to suffice.
Betting options include but are not limited to:
- NCAA games that don’t include New Mexico teams
- Minor league sports
How to Bet on Sports Legally in New Mexico
To place sports bets at the Santa Ana Star sportsbook you must be of legal gambling age which is 21.
Since they do not have nor operate through a mobile app, it is not required to register for an account in order to place a bet. If they do introduce a mobile option, just follow the sportsbook app’s instructions to set up and fund your account.
The Santa Ana Star has a dedicated sportsbook that has 24/7 betting kiosks and live cashier clerks working from noon to 8pm on weekdays and 7am to 10pm on weekends.
Placing bets using the kiosk or directly at the cashier is easy. All you need to know is the game you want to bet on, the kind of bet you want to make and how much you want to wager. Either enter the info using a kiosk or tell the clerk.
Either way you’ll receive a betting slip that you can use to redeem your payout if the bet is a winner.
Is Betting on Fantasy Sports Legal in New Mexico?
Yes, betting on daily fantasy sports is legal in New Mexico.
It’s legal for people in New Mexico to play on all the major DFS sites including DraftKings and FanDuel.
Locals can rest assured that playing DFS for real money is safe and secure since DFS wagering is overseen by both the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and the US Gaming Commission.
What Is the Future of Online Sports Betting in New Mexico?
Technically speaking, we’re halfway there already since sports betting is available in the state, albeit in person. That’s a good first step.
Although New Mexico has taken an alternative path to legal sports betting, the fact that it already exists in the state is good reason to believe it will expand and increase over time.
If and when this does happen we will certainly see online and mobile sports betting available in the state.
What happens during 2019 will be very telling as far as what we can expect in addition to the sportsbook at the Santa Ana Star Casino.
We know that another casino, the Inn of the Mountain Gods, in Ruidoso, is anxious to join the mix. A second casino sportsbook would only serve to add momentum to what is already building.
There are more steps involved with making online sports betting legal. The current legislation will have to be changed and the tribal compacts in the state will have to be renegotiated. Check back on this page soon for any developments as they happen.
Recap: Legal New Mexico Sports Betting Arrives
The developments in New Mexico have revealed a new way that sports betting may become available in other states, even if those states haven’t passed pro-sports gambling legislation.
People in New Mexico are already enjoying live legal betting on tribal land and experts predict the state government will be taking a serious look at an official piece of legislation in 2019.
Like any other state questioning whether or not to create a legal sports betting industry New Mexico will have a harder and harder time ignoring the opportunity as neighboring states start generating significant revenue.
With New Mexico’s unique circumstances it will be able to observe how well sportsbooks do within its own borders and use that information to make a decision on expanding state-wide laws.
If you live in New Mexico, make sure to bookmark this page and check back for major developments that either help or hurt the state’s chances of introducing more betting options.
To find out more about other parts of the country, browse our guides to legal US sports betting for every state.
New Mexico Online Sports Betting FAQs
Is sports betting legal in New Mexico?
Yes, but only at one land-based casino. New Mexico is unique compared to other states because while the government has not legalized sports betting, a legal loophole in the tribal-state compact allows for it at tribal casinos.
Where can I bet on sports in New Mexico?
Currently the only place in New Mexico to lay down a sports bets is at the Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel sportsbook. However, there are rumors of a second tribal casino opening a sportsbook of their own in 2019.
Should we see this happen in the coming year we would logically deduce that more tribal casinos will follow suit afterwards.
What sports can I bet on in New Mexico?
You can gamble on almost any sport from North America and around the world including NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, PGA golf, NCAA football and basketball, MMA, soccer, CFL, NASCAR, tennis and tons of minor league sports.
The only major exception is that betting on NCAA games that involve New Mexico colleges is not allowed.
What sports are illegal to bet on in New Mexico?
Betting on high school sports is not allowed. Wagers can be made on NCAA sports with the exclusion of local New Mexican schools.
Is it illegal to bet using offshore sports betting websites?
While US law does not make betting with offshore sportsbooks explicitly illegal, we do not recommend it. We suggest using the legal and licensed options open to you. In New Mexico right now that means betting in person at a tribal casino. Soon that may also include non-tribal sportsbooks and online options.