A Guide to Gambling / Gaming Activities in New Mexico
This guide was first developed by the NM Alcohol and Gaming Division as “A Guide to Conducting Fundraising Activities in New Mexico”. This updated version is prepared by the NM Gaming Control Board. Revised August, 2009.
Unless specifically permitted by law, gambling is prohibited in New Mexico pursuant to §60-2E-4 of the Gaming Control Act and the New Mexico Criminal Code, 30-19-1 thru 30-19-15 NMSA 1978. Examples of gambling specifically permitted by law include activities conducted under the a) Gaming Control Act, 60-2E-1 thru 60-2E-62 NMSA 1978, 15.1.1 thru 15.1.26 NMAC, b) the Horse Racing Act, 60-1A-1 thru 60-1A-30 NMSA 1978, 15.2.1 thru 15.2.7 NMAC, c) the State Lottery Act, 6-24-1 thru 6-24-34 NMSA 1978, and d) the Bingo and Raffle Act, 60-2F-1 thru 60-2F-26 NMSA, 15.4.1 thru 15.4.9 NMAC. Properly qualified organizations may conduct certain games of chance in New Mexico for fundraising purposes on a limited basis. Following describes qualifying factors, organizational responsibilities, and the limitations on gaming imposed by New Mexico law.
- Bingo – is a game of chance in which prizes are awarded on the basis of designated numbers or symbols on a card conforming to numbers or symbols selected at random.
- Game – under the Gaming Control Act is an activity where you pay to play a game or on a slot machine, the outcome of which is based on chance and possibly some skill, to receive a prize or something of value.
- Lottery – is a game of chance in which, for consideration, the player has an opportunity to win a prize, the award of which is determined by chance, even if some skill is required.
- Pull Tabs – printed tickets that have a pull-tab or seal to be opened by the purchaser where a winning combination is printed on each ticket or on a separate card.
- Raffle – is a game of chance conducted by drawing for prizes by chance or by selling tickets or rights to participate in such a drawing.
- Sweepstakes – used to promote legitimate business objectives. Entry obtained with purchase but must also provide a no purchase necessary alternative method of entry.
Horse Racing / Tracks
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 and betting/wagering at a licensed track on live racing is legal. §60-1A-15 NMSA 1978, was amended to permit Pari-mutuel betting/wagering, however, this section also states that pari-mutuel wagering can be done “only on the licensed premises where a live horse race is conducted or where a simulcast horse race is televised or projected on the racing grounds of the licensed premises of a racetrack licensee.” Slot machines can legally be operated at a Licensed Track. The license for this is separate and issued under the Gaming Control Act.
Slot Machines and Casino Style Gaming
Casino style gaming is permitted in this State by Tribal/State Compact with the tribes and pueblos of New Mexico.
Slot Machines are permitted by license only in the tribal casinos, licensed racetracks and in certain licensed non-profit organizations.
Non-Profit organizations who can qualify for a gaming operator’s license pursuant to the Gaming Control Act §60-2E-3(GG):
- a bona fide chartered or incorporated branch, lodge, order or association, in existence in New Mexico prior to January 1, 1997, of a fraternal organization that is described in Section 501(c)(8) or (10) of the federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and that is exempt from federal income taxation pursuant to Section 501(a) of that code; or
- a bona fide chartered or incorporated post, auxiliary unit or society of, or a trust or foundation for the post or auxiliary unit, in existence in New Mexico prior to January 1, 1997, of a veterans’ organization that is described in Section 501(c)(19) or (23) of the federal Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and that is exempt from federal income taxation pursuant to Section 501(a) of that code.
Home Ownership of Slot Machines
Having a Slot Machine in your home has only very recently become available. This came about as a result of the Court of Appeals decision in State of N.M., ex rel. NM Gaming Control Bd. v. Ten Gaming Devices 138 N.M. 426, 120 P.3d 848. The court’s decision is very limited. To legally obtain a slot machine in New Mexico, it MUST be purchased from a distributor or manufacturer licensed to distribute or manufacture machines in this state by the State of New Mexico.
ONLY New Mexico licensed manufacturers and distributors, licensed in New Mexico may transport gaming machines in New Mexico. You may not purchase a slot machine in another state and bring it into this state without first complying with New Mexico law and federal law, the Johnson Act, 15 USC 1171. Any slot machine purchased and transported into New Mexico without first complying with State and Federal law, is subject under the law to forfeiture and destruction. The homeowner may not make a profit from having the machine.
Persons who play on the machine can play for winnings only. The homeowner may not offer the slot machine for resale, to sell a gaming machine in New Mexico, you must be licensed to do so. A homeowner may not transport the slot machine from one location to another, only a licensed manufacturer or distributor may do so and must comply with the state and federal law to do so. A homeowner charging a fee to play or keeping a portion of monies (tokens exchangeable for cash) put into the slot machine for ANY reason, would be commercial gambling, §30-19-3 NMSA, a fourth-degree felony.
Internet Gambling / Wagering
Internet gambling is expressly prohibited by Federal law. This falls under 31 U.S.C.A. §5361, Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. The State of New Mexico, and the New Mexico Gaming Control Board do not regulate, license, control or in ANY way sanction, endorse or approve any Internet or on-line gambling, betting activity, wagering or any aspect thereof. Any statement, reference or opinion to the contrary is wrong. Such activity is strictly prohibited and not authorized, approved or sanctioned in any manner by New Mexico regulatory authorities.
This document is NOT a comprehensive statement of all the laws applicable to fundraising or gambling in New Mexico. This is NOT intended to provide any legal advice to any person or organization. The NM Gaming Control Board strongly urges any person or organization to consult an attorney regarding the possible consequences, effects, criminal and otherwise, of conducting various games of chance. Additionally, organizations conducting fundraising activities have specific tax reporting obligations. More detailed information about these obligations can be obtained from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department, Tax information and Policy Office, at 827-0700, and the Internal Revenue Service, at 1-800-829-1040. Organizations conducting fundraising activities may have certain registration and reporting obligations. Contact the Public Regulation Commission, Corporations Bureau at 827-4500, and the (57-22-5 NMSA) Attorney General’s Office, Registry of Charitable Organizations, at 827-6000, for more information.