First Tribal Sportsbook Opens in New Mexico

Santa Ana Star Casino launched its sportsbook this morning. The tribe is leveraging its sovereignty and tribal gaming compact in New Mexico, a state that has yet to legalize sports betting, which is currently permitted by New Jersey, Delaware, Mississippi, West Virginia and Rhode Island.

Powered by the Las Vegas-based tech firm USBookmaking, the sportsbook will only offer on-site, land-based betting—meaning not mobile. The Tamaya Nation at the Pueblo of Santa Ana purchased the casino in 1993. The sportsbook will serve the greater Albuquerque market.

Casino hotel CEO John Cirrincione said the casino is planning to take bets on all major professional and collegiate sports—with the exception of the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State. “Although we believe there would be interest on betting on local teams, we believe it best not to take bets on these teams,” he told

He added: “We are extremely proud of the fact that Santa Ana Star Casino Hotel is the first tribal casino in the state of New Mexico, and one of the first in the nation, to launch a sportsbook. The Tribal-State Compact allows tribal casinos in New Mexico to operate all forms of Class III gaming. Sports betting is Class III gaming. The Pueblo of Santa Ana is a sovereign nation with its own laws allowing all forms of Class III gaming in its casino.”

New Mexico Attorney General spokesman David Carl said: “Sports betting at the Santa Ana Star Casino is governed by the Pueblo of Santa Ana Gaming Regulatory Commission. As such, we will closely monitor New Mexico’s tribal gaming compacts and 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.”

The New Mexico-based tribe isn’t the first Indian Nation to capitalize on burgeoning sportsbetting industry. On August 30, Pearl River Resort Casino, owned by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Choctaw, Mississippi, became the first tribal casino to offer sports betting outside of Nevada.

Meanwhile, the United Auburn Indian Community (UAIC) in California has announced a future, joint sportsbetting venture with MGM-GVC. “It is not yet clear if California will authorize sports betting or interactive games generally, but with the overturn of PASPA [the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992] possibly opening the doors for sports betting, our tribe wants to be well-situated and this agreement with the national leader in the field does just that,” Chairman of UAIC Gene Whitehouse has said.


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