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New Mexico Poker Laws

New MexicoNew Mexico is one of the few states that have actually addressed playing poker online. This state deems it illegal. It appears that New Mexico is more concerned with the operators of illegal poker sites than the players playing at these sites.

New Mexico has plenty of legal venues to play poker in person. Several Indian Casinos spread throughout the state offer poker games. Keep reading to explore the laws concerning poker and online poker in New Mexico.

Can Players From New Mexico Play Poker Online?

Yes! New Mexico has stated in their laws that online gambling is illegal, but they have made no move to block internet poker sites from their state. At this point, all US facing poker sites accept players from New Mexico.

This means that players from New Mexico can be playing real money online poker games in a matter of minutes if they choose to do so. All you have to do is sign up at an online poker site, make a deposit, and begin playing. It is as simple as that.

Is it Legal to Play Online Poker in New Mexico?

New Mexico actually has a law prohibiting internet gambling in their state. This law references federal law which seems to be changing. Recently federal law determined that the Wire Act did not pertain to the internet. We are unsure as to where this leaves the law in New Mexico, but New Mexico does have several interesting laws that pertain to gambling:

  • Unless specifically permitted by law, gambling is prohibited in New Mexico pursuant to §60-2E-4 of the Gaming Control Act New Mexico does not permit online gambling by law so therefore it could be considered prohibited.
  • New Mexico uses a definition of Game for gambling. It is defined as 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.
  • Poker games are prohibited by law if they meet the following criteria Poker Games/Poker Tournaments/poker runs if money is paid for the opportunity to play and if money or prizes are being awarded as a result of the outcome of the game.
  • Charitable gambling is acceptable with proper licensing.
  • Internet gambling is prohibited 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.
  • We have found no instance where an individual has been charged for playing poker online in New Mexico. [1]

These are just a few of the laws that we found pertaining to gambling in New Mexico. We found these laws interesting so we wanted to share them with you. We are in no way experts on the laws of New Mexico. We encourage you to speak with an attorney if you are concerned with the legality of playing poker online in New Mexico.

New Mexico Gambling History

The history of gambling in New Mexico dates back to the early settlers. Gambling was common in the area during this time, but gambling was illegal during these days. The first legal gambling came to New Mexico in the form of horseracing, which was common since shortly after WWII.

The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act made a huge difference for the people of New Mexico. They fought for their rights to establish casinos long before this Act, and it took several years after the Act before they were actually granted compacts with the state so that they could start legally operating casinos.

In fact, it took almost 10 years of legal battles before the state finally signed compacts with the Tribes. In 1997, compacts were approved by the legislature and signed by the governor of New Mexico.

Within 10 years of the first compact being signed, New Mexico had signed compacts with 9 tribes. This led the way for many casinos to set up in New Mexico. Today, you will find over 30 casinos in the state of New Mexico. These casinos offer the same standard games you will find at any casino including poker games and poker tournaments. [2]

Over the years, New Mexico also legalized charity gambling. Bingo halls and raffle tickets are among the legalized charity gambling. The charity gambling organizations must have proper licenses to operate within the state of New Mexico. The organizations can also have slot machines with the proper permits.

Legalized Gambling Options in New Mexico

Almost all forms of gambling are regulated in the state of New Mexico. Casinos games are offered at over 30 casinos. You can also play a limited amount of casinos games like slot machines at the race tracks in New Mexico. Pari-mutuel betting at the race tracks is a common pastime. Bets can be placed on live races and simulcast races. You can also play the New Mexico lottery. Tickets are sold in convenience stores throughout the state.

Online Gambling Future in New Mexico

At this point New Mexico considers online gambling illegal. However, New Mexico took this stance referring to federal law. Recently federal law has determined that the Wire Act does not pertain to internet gambling. Several states have already made the move to legalize online poker and other forms of online gambling. It is unclear at this point if New Mexico will legalize online gambling in the future. I think that if the federal government legalizes online gambling New Mexico will follow suit, but this is just my opinion.

References:

  1. Jump up ^ New Mexico Gambling Statutes
  2. Jump up ^ New Mexico Casinos
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