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Buffalo Thunder casino opens sports book

SANTA FE — Pojoaque Pueblo’s Buffalo Thunder Casino and Resort has started New Mexico’s second sports betting operation.

The sports book opened Monday as part of what has been the casino’s race betting spot, Thunder Race Book.

Santa Ana Pueblo’s Santa Ana Star Casino’s opened a sports book in October, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that struck down the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act that for the most part had prevented states from allowing sports betting.

Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino (Journal File)

News of Buffalo Thunder moving into the sports betting game emerged on gambling industry news websites Monday. Gaming Today reported that Buffalo Thunder is partnering with Las Vegas Dissemination Co. in conjunction with the South Point Hotel and Casino and National Sports Book Management.

An employee at Buffalo Thunder confirmed that the sports book was operating Monday evening. Efforts to reach Pojoaque Pueblo officials Monday night were unsuccessful. A tweet from someone touting the opening of the Buffalo Thunder sports book showed a list of college basketball games taking place Monday at conference tournaments around the country.

Gaming Today’s article says that Buffalo Thunder now has the “only book outside of Nevada that has kiosks to handle both race and sports hardware and software support.”

Gambling critics have maintained that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in fact did not clear the way for sports betting in New Mexico and that whether sports books are legal was left up to the states. Other states have enacted legislation to permit sports betting since the May court decision.

But the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Indian Affairs has indicated that in its view state/tribal gaming compacts in New Mexico permit all forms of Class III Gaming, which includes sports betting.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office said in October that the sports book at the Santa Ana Star Casino “is governed by the Pueblo of Santa Ana Gaming Regulatory Commission” and that the AG’s Office would “work with the Legislature for proper statutory and regulatory oversight to require responsible gaming and enhanced integrity to create an even playing field for all.”