New Mexico has joined the growing list of states with legal sports betting options. On Tuesday, the Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel located just north of Albuquerque accepted its first sports wagers as the newest sportsbook in the USA.
Pictures circulating on Twitter show the sportsbook currently consists of a simple counter on the casino floor with a digital odds board on the wall behind the counter. It doesn’t look like the most luxurious sportsbook in the world, but it’s the only one they’ve got in New Mexico and it beats not having one at all.
The launch of a sportsbook at Santa Ana Star Casino was announced just days ago and came out of nowhere with nobody in New Mexico previously hinting at legalizing sports betting. USBookmaking, which operates sports betting at Santa Ana Star Casino, announced the news less than a week ago.
Santa Ana Star Casino sportsbook will be taking wagers on all major professional and college sports leagues except games involving New Mexico State and UNM.
The Las Cruces Sun News reported earlier this week that the sportsbook will be open from noon to 8 PM on weekdays and from 7 AM to 10 PM on weekends in addition to two self-service kiosks that will be available during off-hours.
At least one Twitter user has noted the sportsbook seems a bit rushed at this point with information lacking regarding future plans and no TVs installed in the betting area for customers to watch the games:
I went to the new Santa Ana Star casino sportsbook. It felt to me they were hurrying to open before someone said they couldn't. I talked to a few people and no one knew the long term plan, i.e. how can we watch football games and what is the plan for Super Bowl and March Madness
— Brian Grayson (@djslybri) October 16, 2018
In any case, New Mexico has its first sportsbook even if this one isn’t quite as polished as others that have launched in New Jersey and elsewhere in 2018. At the very least, the Santa Ana sportsbook will push New Mexico to seriously consider the issue and possibly expand sports betting to other casinos in the state.
You can see a few more pictures of the sportsbook in action on the Santa Ana Star Casino Facebook page.
New Mexico Becomes Sixth State with Sports Betting
The launch of the Sana Ana Casino sportsbook officially makes New Mexico the fifth state to launch legal sports betting since the Supreme Court ruled in May to overturn the federal sports betting ban. New Mexico now joins Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia as states that have legalized sports betting since the decision. If we add Nevada to the list, that makes it six states with legal sports betting today.
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New York have also passed laws to legalize sports betting, but no sportsbooks have opened for business in those states yet. Once those three states get on board, that’ll make it ten US states with legal sports betting. The newly-legal sports betting industry is developing surprisingly quickly considering nearly every state must pass new gaming laws to legalize in-person and online sportsbooks.
New Mexico stands unique among these states in that it hasn’t even legalized sports betting, yet here we have an operational sportsbook in full view of the public and not a law enforcement officer in sight.
That’s because the Santa Ana Star Casino is not governed by New Mexico gaming laws. The Pueblo of Santa Ana Gaming Commission oversees gambling on Pueblo lands and the commission believes tribal gaming compacts include sports betting as an authorized form of betting under the compact.
The state of New Mexico is aware of the sportsbook at Santa Ana Star Casino and has given no indication it plans to intervene. With one full day of sports betting in the books, New Mexico sports betting is off to a start. Next up is for state legislators to see how they can negotiate with the tribe and possibly expand sports betting to other casinos in the state.
Addressing the issue may become a priority with this development because under existing gaming compacts, the state receives no revenue from sports betting.