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New Mexico Charitable Gaming

The New Mexico Bingo and Raffle Act (BR Act) authorizes and regulates specific games of chance by licensed nonprofit organizations. Charitable gaming includes bingo, pull-tabs, lotteries, sweepstakes and raffles. Electronic bingo machines and video pull-tabs are not permitted. New Mexico also allows slot machines to be licensed to certain nonprofit organizations. Slot machines are regulated by the Gambling Control Board (GCB) of New Mexico.

Only qualified nonprofit organizations may conduct games of chance as defined by the BR Act. Eligible organizations include chartered branches, lodges or chapters of national or state organizations or any bona fide nonprofit religious, charitable, environmental, fraternal, educational or veterans organization that has been in existence and operating in New Mexico for two years. To qualify, organizations are not required to have the federal designation of nonprofit and may use other means as proof of nonprofit status.

Qualified nonprofit organizations apply to the GCB for all games of chance licenses. The GCB issues three types of licenses: a bingo license to conduct bingo, raffles or pull-tab games; a distributor's license; and a manufacturer's license. The fee for each of these is $500 for the initial license and $500 for each renewal. Licenses are valid for three years.

The GCB also issues permits for nonprofit organization employees: a bingo manager, a bingo caller and any other bingo employee position deemed necessary by the GCB. The fee for these permits is $75 for the initial permit and $75 for each renewal.

The New Mexico State Fair may also apply for a bingo license to conduct games of chance at the state fairgrounds while the state fair is open. The fee for this special license is $100 annually. A qualified organization may only conduct a raffle at the state fairgrounds after obtaining prior approval of the State Fair Commission and the GCB.

The combined value of all prizes offered in all bingo games played on a single occasion cannot exceed $2,500. A bingo licensee may conduct up to 260 occasions in a 12-month period. Sessions are limited to four hours. A licensee may not hold more than three occasions in one day and six in one week. Merchandise prizes awarded in a bingo game, raffle or pull-tabs game are valued at their current retail price. Merchandise prizes are not redeemable for cash. There is also a bingo and raffle tax of .005% of the gross receipts of any game of chance.

A license to hold a raffle is only needed if a qualified organization plans to hold more than one raffle or bingo game each quarter or four in one year. A qualified organization may raffle anything that does not require a license to distribute, such as alcohol and firearms. If the raffle prize is valued at more than $75,000, the organization must notify the GCB at least 10 days before selling raffle tickets.

Qualified veterans and fraternal nonprofit organizations may apply for a gaming operator license, which entitles the club to operate up to 15 gaming machines. Only members of the club may play the machines. Profits from the games must be used for charitable purposes supported by the organization. These licensees are required to pay 10% of net take to the state in gaming taxes. The tax revenue is used to support the clubs and their communities and as additional revenue for the state's general fund.
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