The New Mexico racetracks have tabled a bill, HB 101, that would allow for a massive expansion of gambling across the five licensed racetracks, though the expansion would be under the direction and control of the state Lottery Commission and 15 million of the proposed 40 increased taxes in Millions of dollars would be allocated to the state lottery coffers for college grants. The bill is very vague about the financial benefits for the tracks.
HB 101 insists that the massive expansion of gambling would not affect state / tribal gambling pacts. The bill may say it does, but the state / tribal gambling compacts gave the tribes absolute exclusivity to table games like baccarat, blackjack, poker, craps, roulette, wheel of fortune, etc. This bill would allow the track / lottery complex, to run these games on the tracks, removing that exclusivity.
If the state allows this breach of the treaties, the tribes have the right to stop paying nearly $ 80 million in revenue to the state annually. The Tracks boast of providing the state general fund with additional taxes of $ 40 million per year, minus the $ 15 million the scholarship fund receives with its expansion. This would add approximately $ 55 million to the state general fund as it eliminates the need to split tribal income.
The tribes could also object to the 10% tax on online gambling and the 15% tax on table games, while the tribes can pay the state up to 18% revenue share per year. And can you imagine what a struggle on the tribal treaties would mean for an already complicated and overloaded legislature?
With this calculation, players can not only bet on the outcome of games, but also bet on the statistical performance of individual players at a given point in time in a game. For example, a bet could be placed on whether LeBron James would make a 3-pointer in the next 30 seconds, or whether Tom Brady would run around the goalposts in the next 15 seconds, or whether Dale Hunter would break an opponent’s nose in the next Minute. All of this creates a gambling frenzy that contributes greatly to gambling addiction.
All of this is secondary to the social trauma that would result from a massive expansion of gambling. The main damage would come from legalizing online gambling in the form of sports betting. Online gambling at home or on the go via mobile devices, tablets, laptops and desktop computers has proven to be the most addictive form of gambling in several studies by universities and government agencies.
Particularly poisonous are the efforts of large gambling companies to target teenagers and young people with their online sports betting ads and promotions. The UK is ahead of the US in promoting online sports betting and the impact on the youth is dire. Some UK news media comments report the following:
• 450,000 UK children aged 11 to 16 regularly bet, more than those who have used drugs, smoked or drank alcohol, according to UK Gambling Commission study.
• Promotions and specials for several major online gambling companies appear regularly on children’s social media feeds and direct them to company websites through social networks.
• Almost half of these teenagers – 49% – said that some of these companies’ commercials viewed gambling as a good way to make money.
This expansion of gambling would result in more broken homes, more homelessness, more child and spouse abuse, more teenage gambling, more bankruptcy, more drug and alcohol addiction, more criminal activity, and more suicide. Stop Predatory Gambling New Mexico recommends that HB 101 be submitted on the first committee it visits.
It’s time for the New Mexico government to step out of the predatory gambling racket.