New Mexico

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Major events in New Mexico gaming history


The racetrack in Albuquerque opens as part of the state fair


La Mesa Park opens, the first track to offer pari-mutuel wagering


Ruidoso Downs opens in July


Sunland Park opens in October


Santa Fe Downs opens in June


The legislature passes the Bingo and Raffle Act


San Juan Downs opens in April


Last year of racing at La Mesa Park
San Juan Downs closes until revived in 1999 as SunRay Park


The legislature creates the New Mexico Lottery Authority


Cities of Gold Casino opens


The Lottery begins sales in April with instant tickets
Powerball ticket sales begin in October


Thirteen tribal gaming compacts are approved by the legislature and signed by the governor
Legislation authorizes slot machines at racetracks and non-profit organizations
Last year of racing at the Downs at Santa Fe


The Lottery launches Roadrunner Cash in February
In October, the Lottery adds Mega Match 4


In February, Sunland Park is the first racetrack to offer slot machines
SunRay Park, on the grounds of the old San Juan Downs, opens its casino in April; live racing begins in October
Ruidoso Downs begins slot operations in May
In June, the first non-profit operator begins slot operations
The Downs at Albuquerque opens its casino in August


Dancing Eagle Casino opens
The Lottery begins Pick 3 sales in September


Route 66 Casino opens in September


Zia Park opens its casino in November


Zia Park begins its inaugural racing season in September


Hot Lotto sales begin in November


The Lottery offers its first raffle game


Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino opens in August
Fire Rock Casino opens in November


Mega Millions is launched in January
Flowing Water Casino opens in October


Northern Edge casino opens in January


The Lottery launches MONOPOLY Millionaires' Club with 22 other lotteries on October 19; the game was discontinued in December


Nambe Falls Casino opens in January

Casinos and casino-style gaming

1998 legislation authorized slot machines at racetracks and at certain non-profit locations. Sunland Park was the first racetrack to open its casino in February 1999, while the first non-profit locations began offering slots in June of that year.

The Downs at Albuquerque – 320 slots
Ruidoso Downs / Billy the Kid Casino – 300 slots
Sunland Park Racetrack and Casino – 720 slots
SunRay Park and Casino – 600 slots
Zia Park / Black Gold Casino – 750 slots

As of November 2016, there were 653 machines in operation at non-profit locations. The Gaming Control Board does not provide details for each racetrack casino, so the slot numbers listed above are approximate and how multi-seat games are counted may vary. At the end of November, the commission listed 2,912 slots at the tracks.

New Mexico Gaming Control Board
4900 Alameda Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113
Phone (505) 841-9700

Tribal gaming

There are fifteen tribes in New Mexico with Class III gaming compacts and they operate 23 casinos and gaming operations.

Acoma Pueblo – Sky City Casino Hotel
Isleta Pueblo – Isleta Resort and Casino, Palace West Casino
Jicarilla Apache Tribe – Wild Horse Casino, Apache Nugget Travel Center and Casino
Laguna Pueblo – Route 66 Casino, Route 66 Casino Xpress, Dancing Eagle Casino
Mescalero Apache Tribe – Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino, Casino Apache Travel Center
Nambe Pueblo – Nambe Falls Casino
Navajo Nation – Fire Rock Casino, Flowing Water Casino, Northern Edge Casino
Pojoaque Pueblo – Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino, Cities of Gold Casino
San Felipe Pueblo – San Felipe Casino
Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Pueblo) – Ohkay Casino
Sandia Pueblo – Sandia Casino
Santa Ana Pueblo – Santa Ana Star Casino
Santa Clara Pueblo – Santa Claran Casino
Taos Pueblo – Taos Mountain Casino
Tesuque Pueblo – Camel Rock Casino

The Gaming Control Board monitors the tribal gaming operations for compliance with the gaming compacts.


The New Mexico Lottery began ticket sales on April 27, 1996, with instant tickets. The current game offerings include instant tickets, Powerball, Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, Lucky Numbers Bingo, Roadrunner Cash, Pick 3 and Quicksters (instant play style games generated through the lottery’s terminal system).

Lottery proceeds provide scholarships for New Mexico students to attend public colleges, universities and technical colleges.

New Mexico Lottery
4511 Osuna Road Northeast
Albuquerque, NM 87109
Phone (505) 342-7600   

Pari-mutuel facilities

There are currently five racetracks in the state. Zia Park is the newest, opening in 2004 to take advantage of the slot legislation.

The Downs at Albuquerque
201 California St. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87108

Ruidoso Downs
26225 US Highway 70
Ruidoso Downs, NM  88346

Sunland Park
1200 Futurity Dr
Sunland Park, NM 88063

SunRay Park
39 Road 5568
Farmington, NM 87401

Zia Park
3901 W. Millen Drive
Hobbs, NM 88240

New Mexico Racing Commission
4900 Alameda Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM  87113
Phone (505) 222-0700


Charitable gaming

Qualified charitable and non-profit organizations may sell pulltab tickets and conduct bingo and raffles, including casino nights and Texas Hold’em poker tournaments. Certain non-profits may also offer slot machines, as noted above.

New Mexico Gaming Control Board
4900 Alameda Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113
Phone (505) 841-9700

Last updated on December 11, 2016