New Mexico politicians propose to add casinos to racetracks

New Mexico might bring live poker, blackjack, craps and a sportsbook to its racetracks. Representative Raymundo Lara sponsors a bill that would convert racinos, located in the state’s racetracks, to fully functioning casinos.

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Lara said, “I truly believe this is a win-win for the state as a whole,” adding it will benefit young people, bring jobs and additional revenue to communities and to the state.

Las Cruces Sun News reported there are five racetracks in New Mexico, including Sunland Park (pictured), all of which already have casinos attached to them, but with a limited selection of slot machines and video poker, blackjack and roulette; sports betting is limited to horseracing. According to the proposal, the new casinos will be managed by the New Mexico Lottery and offer a better selection of games.

The state has a college scholarship program, the Lottery Scholarship Fund, which is funded by gambling revenue. The revenue from the proposed casinos should generate about $40m a year, and $15m would go into the scholarship fund.

Bill co-sponsor Senator William O’Neill said, “We really need to diversify our revenue stream, and that’s going to be a big theme in the upcoming session. We’re looking at a lot of different strategies to not be at the mercy of the boom and bust of oil and gas.”


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