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Why is racino outside of free market?

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By Ned Cantwell

The Land of Enchantment seems to have decided she was pleased after all with the spacey, out-of-this-world, little green men Rose Parade float. There persists, however, the notion other themes might have well served New Mexico.One that suggests itself to me is a gambling motif, Three cowboy dudes dealing poker flanked by a bevy of scantily clad cowgirls presiding over roulette wheels and Kenny Rogers singing “you got to know when to show ’emee”Those of us who have been around long enough to savor the more simple days of Bruce King administrations can remember when big time gambling meant a bingo game at the church hall. In season, you could trek to a racetrack and try to hit a daily double.Those with deeper cravings flocked to “game night” at the local men’s lodge where serious wagering was in full swing. Gaming nights were blatantly against the law but since the police chief might well have been dealing cards to the county sheriff, everyone kind of winked and nodded.The explosion of gambling in the last 15-20 years has been phenomenal. It all started when the U.S. Congress, in 1988, passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. That allowed tribes to build casinos on their reservations, and New Mexico Indians were quick to cash in.As Indian casinos began springing up around the state, racetrack owners thought the game was fixed.


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