The New Mexico Lottery Authority is moving ahead with plans for a new game that will be tied to the outcome of sporting events.
The lottery board voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the new game, which could go on sale in four to six months.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the move is the first by a state government to cash in on a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that struck down a federal law that largely prohibited sports betting outside of Nevada.
Santa Ana Pueblo became the first tribe in New Mexico to offer sports betting at its casino, and studies released Tuesday show sports betting in the state could potentially bring in more than $1 billion annually.
Lottery CEO David Barden said the lottery’s sports game will generate $30 million a year, with $9 million of that going to the lottery-funded tuition-assistance program for New Mexico college students.
The goal is to make the lottery more attractive to younger people, Barden said. “It’s not your grandmother’s lottery game,” he said.
Details of the game are being worked out, but officials say it will involve a parlay-like wager. A player will pick possible outcomes of at least three sporting events and will have to choose all correctly to win.
The lottery first announced over the summer that it was considering a sports game.
The game will be operated by Intralot, the lottery’s contractor for its numbers games such as Powerball and Roadrunner Cash. Intralot operates lottery sports games in several other countries.
According to Intralot, the New Mexico Lottery is the first lottery in the United States to authorize a sports game to be available at all its retail outlets. Delaware, for example, has a lottery sports game but offers it at limited locations.
State lawmakers are expected to have questions about the lottery’s authority to offer a sports game. Lottery attorneys advised the board during Tuesday’s meeting that it has a strong legal argument that the lottery can operate the game under the same provision in state law that permits it to run numbers games.
Guy Clark, chairman of Stop Predatory Gambling New Mexico, said he believes the lottery needs specific authorization from the Legislature.
Under agreements with gaming tribes, the state limits off-reservation gaming in exchange for a share of the tribes’ revenues from slot machines. A state lottery is permitted under the compacts, but there is no language concerning what games can be offered.