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New Mexico Sportsbook at Isleta Taking Bets on NM Colleges

Kelsey McCarson for Bookies.com

Kelsey McCarson  | 4 mins

New Mexico Sportsbook at Isleta Taking Bets on NM Colleges

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Isleta Resort & Casino in Albuquerque became the third New Mexico sportsbook to open on Monday when it started accepting wagers on sports from casino customers. The immediate difference is that, unlike the other two current operators in the stat, Isleta is taking bets on the state's college football and basketball games involving the New Mexico Lobos and Mew Mexico State Aggies, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

"We are confident that our dedicated and exceptional sportsbook team will provide the very best betting experience in New Mexico," Isleta Resort & Casino CEO Harold Baugus said in a press release.

The Isleta Resort & Casino’s temporary sportsbook, which is powered by USBookmaking, is open for business on the casino floor and features a Las Vegas-style betting board. Visitors can expect the sportsbook’s permanent location, currently under construction, to open before the end of 2019.

Tribal Sportsbooks Opened Without State Legislation

The first bets at Isleta Resort & Casino were placed on Monday morning, giving the state a total of three tribal casinos with operational sportsbooks to come along since May 2018, when the U.S. Supreme Court repealed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992.

New Mexico lawmakers have not passed legalization measures at the state level, but that has not stopped tribal representatives from taking bets in their sportsbooks. A compact between the tribes and the state government, approved years before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal ban on sports wagering in May 2018, let tribes take sports wagers in the event that the ban was lifted. The state's casino's have gone on to install sportsbooks and accept bets without state-sponsored legislation or regulation.

Isleta Resort & Casino became the third tribal casino in New Mexico to offers sports betting after the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel led the charge in October 2018 followed by the Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino in April.

A fourth sportsbook at the Inn of the Mountain Gods is scheduled to open later this year.

Isleta Offers NCAA Fans Great News

In a bit of surprise, Isleta is accepting college football betting and college basketball betting action featuring the state's only two Division I programs, New Mexico State and New Mexico.

While the Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino had already accepted bets on in-state college basketball teams in March, it only did so during the conference basketball tournaments.

Meanwhile, the sportsbook at the Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel is keeping local college teams off its board entirely and plans to do so for the foreseeable future.

“There is interest from the public, but we must carefully assess our risk and also any potential risk to our local athletic programs,” Santa Ana Star CEO and General Manager John Cirrincione said, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

“We are going to operate our sportsbook as the model for Native American casinos. This includes providing a gaming product in (which) we do what is right by the tribe, the community and individuals.”

That makes the Isleta the only sportsbook in New Mexico to offer full-scale sports betting on in-state college teams.

“There was never a hesitation regarding (putting the local teams on the board) due to the fact that there are extreme measures in place in the world of betting to prevent any kind of wrongdoing that might happen,” Baugus said, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

Both schools are classified by the NCAA as Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams and the casino plans to offer football and basketball betting action for both home and away games so long as the opponent is also D-I.

About the Author

Kelsey McCarson for Bookies.com
Kelsey McCarson
Kelsey McCarson covers boxing and MMA as well as other sports for Bookies.com. He also contributes to Bleacher Report and his work has appeared with USA Today, CNN and Fox Sports.