New Mexico Casinos & Gambling

New Mexico does not have the richest casino history, but the state’s recent history will be music to the ears of any and all gamblers. There are plenty of different ways by which residents of the state can gamble. If we are being realistic, the American Southwest is one of the best spots in the country for gambling. Most of the states in this region have plenty of casinos, and New Mexico is no different. Whether it be standalone casinos or the massive casino resorts that are becoming increasingly popular, casinos are available in all corners of the state.

As we look forward to the future, the simple fact of the matter is that casinos in New Mexico are likely to grow in number. As tourism in the fascinating desert state grows, so too will the casino industry.

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New Mexico Casinos

Apache Nugget Travel Center and Casino

Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino

Camel Rock Casino

Casino Apache Travel Center

Casino Express

Cities of Gold Casino Hotel

Dancing Eagle Casino and RV Park

Downs Racetrack and Casino at Albuquerque, The

Fire Rock Casino

Flowing Water Navajo Casino

Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino

Isleta Resort and Casino

Nambe Falls Casino

Northern Edge Navajo Casino

Ohkay Casino Resort

Palace West Casino

Route 66 Casino

Ruidoso Downs & Billy The Kid Casino

San Felipe Casino Hollywood

Sandia Resort & Casino

Santa Ana Star Casino

Santa Claran Casino

Sky City Casino Hotel

Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino

SunRay Park and Casino

Taos Mountain Casino

Wild Horse Casino & Hotel

Zia Park Race Track & Black Gold Casino

Gambling in New Mexico

Land-based gambling is quite popular in Mexico and is essentially centered around tribal-owned casinos located in Santa Fe and Bernalillo. Those casinos offer slots and traditional table games – if you’d like to try pari-mutuel wagering, the local racetracks are going to be your best bet.

New Mexico has some charitable gambling events and operates a state lottery, but the local lawmakers haven’t passed any iGaming legislation so far. Consequently, if you want to play online games of chance for real money in New Mexico, your only option is to use offshore sites.

Native American/Tribal Casinos

Native American and tribal casinos are nothing more than brick and mortar gambling sites that are owned and operated by Native Americans. In addition, these casinos are located on sovereign tribal lands. When it comes down to it, the only difference between these types of casinos and the type of casinos you will find in Atlantic City is who owns them. As far as amenities are concerned, you will find anything from hotels, restaurants, shopping, and just about everything else that you would come to expect from large scale casinos.


A racino is a casino that exists at a racetrack—typically a horse or dog track. In New Mexico, racinos are not able to provide a full range of casino games. At the present moment in time, the racinos in New Mexico are able to provide pari-mutuel wagering as well as slot games. This is a bit more liberal than what you will find at other states, but still relatively constricting considering there are quite a few racetracks all over New Mexico.

Commercial Casinos

Approved in 2011, the state of New Mexico is just beginning to see commercial casinos be constructed. These casinos will be complete with a full floor consisting of hundreds of slot games as well as plenty of table games. What’s more, most of these brick and mortar locations will also feature amenities such as hotels and restaurants.

New Mexico Casino History

Though other states near New Mexico have gambling histories that extend back to the 1800s, New Mexico does not. In all reality, there wasn’t much widespread gambling in the state until after World War II. The major reason behind this was due to the fact that New Mexico’s earliest penal code explicitly restricted all types of gambling.

Things began to change in the late 1940s when, in 1947, pari-mutuel gambling was legalized. Unlike what happened elsewhere across the country, the legalizing of pari-mutuel betting caused a boom in the horseracing industry. This went on for a long time, but things changed even further in the 1990s when the state set up a task force aimed at negotiating with the many Native tribes and determining the best route to complete legalization of brick and mortar casinos. In 1988, the Federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed, and this brought about many tribes pursuing legal battles in hopes of owning and operating their own casinos.

Though it took almost 5 years, compacts were formed with tribes and casinos began being built. Per the compacts, the Native casinos that opened their doors were able to offer all types of casino games, including slots, table games, and video poker. For a long while, the only casino options were those owned by Native Americans, however that changed in 2011 when it was agreed that non-tribal casinos would also be granted licenses. The state’s non-Native casinos are still in their infancy, but the industry is slowly but surely growing. As we look to the future, it seems as though the brick and mortar casino industry will flourish in New Mexico.