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Pueblo, lottery board are both wrong on sports betting

The Santa Ana Pueblo opened a sports betting parlor on Oct. 16, then the state lottery board voted unanimously to offer a sports betting lottery game. The Santa Ana operation is in violation of federal law, and the lottery would violate state law.

The management at the Santa Ana operation has apparently not read the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988, the foundation of all tribal gambling or wants to ignore it. IGRA Section 2710 (d)(1)reads, “Class III gaming activities shall be lawful on Indian lands only if such activities are (B) located in a State that permits such gaming for any purpose by any person, organization, or entity. …” New Mexico has not legalized sports betting, distinctively different from legalized gambling activities already in our state, therefore Santa Ana Pueblo is violating federal law in opening its sports betting operation.

The lottery board is suggesting since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) in the suit initiated by the NCAA against the state of New Jersey, the court waved a magic wand and made sports betting legal throughout the U.S. No such thing happened. The court basically ruled the federal government does not have the authority to determine state law regarding sports betting but the states are responsible for deciding whether or not to legalize it. Sports betting has not been legalized in New Mexico, which makes a lottery game featuring it illegal under state law.

Other tribes are working with their state agencies to allow tribal sports betting. The Mississippi band of Choctaw Indians just recently began sports betting operations since their 1994 compact specifically allows tribal “sports pools” if the state legalizes it off-reservation. Their Mississippi gaming control act was amended in 2017 to allow off-reservation sports gambling, automatically allowing the tribe to legally follow suit. Oklahoma has a bill working through the legislature that could approve tribal sports betting. … A handful of other states, including California and Connecticut, have tribes encouraging legislation legalizing tribal sports gambling, but none … have attempted a fait accompli, springing it on the public without proper coordination with their state. …

A number of states, including Nevada, New Jersey and Mississippi, have commercial sports betting parlors. … Several other states, including New York, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, have passed legislation legalizing sports betting but have not begun operation. Over a dozen other states have pending sports gambling legislation. But all … have followed constitutional or legislative processes to obtain permission from their states to operate sports betting, adhering to the Supreme Court decision.

Apparently Santa Ana Pueblo and the lottery board think they are operating in a Third-World country and can ignore state and constitutional and statutory requirements for introducing a new form of gambling. They are the only ones in the U.S. to act in such a brazen, unlawful manner.

Canada, Australia and Britain have been flooded with online sports betting, and the newspapers are full of articles about the spectacular damage done to teens and young adults by the pervasive advertising and resulting addiction to sports betting. We have way too much gambling addiction in New Mexico already. The Legislature should resist any effort to legalize it in future legislative sessions.

Stop Predatory Gambling New Mexico calls on Attorney General Hector Balderas to take Santa Ana to federal District Court to get a cease-and-desist order against the tribal sports betting, and to let the lottery board know it would be violating state law if it attempts to operate a sports betting lottery game and would be prosecuted.

The state needs to get out of the predatory gambling racket.

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