New Mexico Sports Betting

Since PASPA was overturned earlier this year, states across the country have been vying to get in on the game. Now, New Mexico is in the thick of things, too. However, unlike other states, New Mexico has tribe-ran casinos getting involved.

Firstly, the New Mexico Lottery Authority approved a new betting game last week, which effectively takes the form of a parlay card, requiring three or more results to be picked correctly.

The tribe-ran casino Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel has the authority to offer any and all kinds of Class III betting, which does include sports betting.

The parlay game works because it follows these particular set of rules, “ a player selects a specified group of numbers or symbols out of a predetermined range of numbers or symbols and purchases a ticket bearing the player-selected numbers or symbols for eligibility in a drawing regularly scheduled in accordance with game rules.”

“In New Mexico, lottery games provided by the New Mexico Lottery Authority must meet the requirements of the New Mexico Lottery Act,” the lottery said in a statement. “The new sports lottery game, which is in the suite of online games, is a lottery game which is permissible under New Mexico law.”

Phoenix-based Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie partner Stephen Hart looks at this landscape favorably saying, “[t]here are some challenges, and there will have to be some meaningful negotiations between the tribes and the state government.”

However, Hart does note that certain laws in place for exclusivity and the need for a mobile wagering platform need to be addressed, though.

“I’m not saying these are insurmountable hurdles,” he added. “I’m just saying that when you bring a new game in with the kind of magnitude of sports betting, it’s not surprising that you’re going to have to have some negotiations between the principal players to account for the changes that are occurring.”

Mark Hichar, a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig in Boston said, “It could be used as an entry into sports betting, but it’s not what people usually think of when they think of full-on Nevada-style sports betting.”

Hichar continued with saying that New Mexico’s lottery is currently similar to that of Delaware’s.

“There’s already this existing state precedence that the parlay game is one where chance predominates over skill,” Hichar said. “Which is not to say Delaware court decisions would necessarily carry the day in other states, but they would be very helpful.”

He continues by saying that since the parlay game is being offered, why go back and get permission again?

“Much of our legislation is of the type where if it’s not prohibited, it’s allowed,” Hichar said. “If this is permitted to the lottery, there really isn’t a reason to go back and ask for permission again.”

Not everyone is so in favor of this though, as Republican Rep. Jason Harper said, “When the Supreme Court ruled, it did not change any laws in New Mexico.”

“So why the lottery thinks it can do sports betting now again shows we have a rogue lottery in our state,” Harper said.

New Mexico is a bit of a unique circumstance when it comes to state-wide sports betting, so it will be intriguing to see how this saga unfolds.