New Mexico Legal Poker Laws

New Mexico Legal Poker Sites
Legal New Mexico Gambling and Poker

New Mexico wasn't left out of the online poker boom in the United States.  While on the smaller side population-wise, the state still contributes more than its fair share of online poker players to the global player pool.  With new players from New Mexico coming online every day, we've constructed this handy survey of the history, the law and the future of online card games - our Guide to Online Poker in New Mexico.

Online Poker in New Mexico

Best New Mexico Online Poker Rooms

With so many poker sites to choose from, what makes one room better than another for poker players from New Mexico?  When we built our list of the best New Mexico online poker rooms, we gave the heaviest weight to three characteristics: Legality (does the room hold a proper license to operate?), Value (how generous are the bonuses and promotions) and Security (does the room have a track record of handling player funds in a responsible manner?).  With those characteristics in mind, we've selected these real money poker rooms as the best places for New Mexicans to play poker online:

Playing Poker Online in New Mexico

There are few hurdles that stand between a poker player in New Mexico and real-money online games.  Players from New Mexico are accepted at all of the major US-friendly online poker networks, and your account can be funded in a matter of minutes via a variety of easy-to-use options.  Some states, like New York, face more restrictions and have fewer options, but no such issues exist for online poker players from Mexico.

Online Poker and New Mexico Law

As is often the case when it comes to US state law, the law of New Mexico regarding gambling is a patchwork of regulations and definitions issued at a variety of times with a variety of unique intentions - not all of them coherent.

  1. Gambling is defined hyper-broadly under New Mexico state law.  Section 30.19-2 defines gambling as "making a bet," going to a place with the intention of making a bet, or running a lottery or acquiring supplies with an intent to run a lottery.  Doing so is a misdemeanor.
  2. The next obvious question - what's a bet?  According to New Mexico, it's "a bargain in which the parties agree that, dependent upon chance, even though accompanied by some skill, one stands to win or lose anything of value specified in the agreement" (Section 30-19-1(B)).  
  3. All activity that meets these definitions is illegal by default.  New Mexico law then makes exceptions for "betting otherwise permitted by law" (Section 30-19-1(B)).
  4. The most substantial penalties under New Mexico gambling law are aimed at the individuals operating the illegal gambling activity.  Those doing so in New Mexico are potentially subject to charges of Commercial gambling (Section 30-19-3), Permitting premises to be used for gambling (Section 30-19-5)and Dealing in gambling devices (Section 30-19-5).
  5. No part of New Mexico law directly addresses online gambling, and we are unaware of any relevant case law on the subject.

You should retain the services of a lawyer if you need a definitive answer regarding the legality of any activity.  In this section, we are only highlighting some of the foundations of New Mexico gambling law to provide you with a head start on reviewing the state statutes (located here [1]) yourself.

Will New Mexicans See Regulated Online Poker?

There has been little to indicate that New Mexico has a serious interest in regulating online poker (or any form of online gambling, for that matter).  Poker is certainly popular in the state, and with plenty of other regulated forms of gambling it's certainly not a stretch to imagine that New Mexico might eventually authorize and regulate such activity online.  But for now the state is far behind peers such as Nevada and Delaware, meaning New Mexicans likely have a wait of several years before state-regulated poker comes online.

New Mexico Gambling Facts & Future

Quick History of Gambling in New Mexico

There are essentially three phases to the history of gambling in New Mexico.  The first can be called a "pre-regulatory" phase that existed from the state's origins through the early 20th century.  The second is the "pari-mutuel" phase, ushered in by a horse racing boom in the 1940s that stretched well into the 1980s.  That brings us to the third phase in New Mexico's gambling history, one that can accurately be described as a "massive expansion" phase.  This phase took place in the 1990s and saw a state lottery and widespread tribal gambling enter the lexicon of state-endorsed gambling.

What are the Regulated Gambling Options in New Mexico?

Commercial interests saw the progress made by tribes at the state level and pushed for their own slot machines at racetracks and similar businesses.  Their success in the early 2000s means that New Mexico now offers all major forms of regulated gambling.

Does New Mexico Regulate any Online Gambling?

No.  The state of New Mexico does not directly regulate, license or endorse any forms of online gambling.

Recent New Mexico Gambling Headlines

New Mexico is home to the newest Indian reservation in the US - and the gambling controversy that can often accompany such lands [2].  The battle between the Fort Sill Apache and competing gambling interests in New Mexico has taken much of the gaming media's focus over the last year. 

New Mexico Gambling Resources

State of New Mexico Gaming Control Board [3].  As always, the state GCB website is the best starting point for objective information about the laws, regulations and financial statistics concerning the regulated gambling industry.

NMCPG.org [4].  24-hour help and always-available resources are the primary features of the website for the New Mexico Council on Problem Gambling.   

UNLV New Mexico Report [5].  A handy, comprehensive overview of regulated gambling in New Mexico prepared and updated by the UNLV Center for Gaming Research.

New Mexico and Poker Culture

While New Mexico hasn't produced many top-flight poker stars, the state recently laid claim to a unique piece of poker history.  It was in New Mexico, back in July of 2012 at the Route 66 Casino, that Greg Raymer started his historic run [6] of four Heartland Poker Tour titles in as many months.

Sources & Citations For This Article on New Mexico Online Poker